February 20, 2003 Edmonton… It’s no trade secret. Alberta apprentices, instructors and employers contribute to keeping Alberta strong. To recognize this, the annual Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board Awards will be handed out on February 20th to 49 apprentices, two instructors and two employers at a ceremony in Calgary.

“Alberta’s apprenticeship and industry training system is one of the best in Canada and is very well respected on an international level,” said Minister of Learning, Dr. Lyle Oberg, noting Alberta has 10 per cent of Canada’s population, yet trains 20 per cent of the country’s apprentices. “We can attribute much of this success to the dedication of our employers and instructors, and in the high-quality apprentices they train.

The Top Apprentice Award recognizes those achieving the highest combined mark during their final period of apprenticeship training, coupled with a strong employer recommendation. This year, 49 apprentices in Alberta will receive a Top Apprentice Award.

The Employer of the Year Award of Excellence recognizes employers for their unique commitment to training and their investment in the apprenticeship and industry training system. This year’s winners are L. Robert Enterprises in Fort McMurray, and Kirchner Machine Ltd., in Lethbridge.

The Top Instructor Award recognizes instructors for their excellence in delivering technical training to apprentices and their commitment and support of apprenticeship. This year’s winners are Rob Prediger, an instructor in the Automotive Service Technician program from Fairview College, and Rick Blakeley, an instructor in the Parts Technician program from Lethbridge Community College.

“This awards ceremony gives us the opportunity to recognize the excellent work of not only the apprentices, but of the employers and instructors who also play a vital role in maintaining our excellent apprenticeship system,” said Board Chair Cliff Williams. “Congratulations to all the recipients for their dedication and commitment to excellence.”

Alberta’s apprenticeship system combines on-the-job and technical training in more than 50 trades and occupations. There are currently more than 40,000 registered apprentices in Alberta, an increase of 50 per cent in the past six years. The award ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Symposium Room at SAIT.


Edmonton… Alberta Learning Minister Dr. Lyle Oberg will explore further possibilities for supporting the learning system through the use of technology while meeting with high tech industry leaders in San Francisco and San Jose California, February 24-25.

“Alberta continues to receive a lot of attention from around the world for the innovation in our learning system. To stay ahead, we need to continue to look at how new technology can further enhance student learning. This will be an opportunity to explore and discuss future trends in technology,” said Dr. Oberg.

Minister Oberg will discuss a potential pilot project with Sun Microsystems, Inc. using its Sun Ray[TM] desktop system. The pilot project would connect the desktop systems to a central server and will investigate the effectiveness of this new technology over the Alberta SuperNet.

The pilot is the latest in a string of on-going collaborations between Sun Microsystems and the Government of Alberta. Sun Microsystems has invested in Alberta to designate the University of Calgary a Sun Centre of Excellence for Visual Genomics, select the University of Alberta a Sun Centre of Excellence for E-Learning, and support the Life Sciences Proteome Analytical Project at the University of Alberta. Most recently, Sun Microsystems, Alberta Innovation and Science, and the University of Alberta agreed to establish a Centre for Excellence in Integrated Nano Tools. Initial discussions on the Sun Ray technology began a year-and-a-half ago on a technology mission by Alberta Innovation and Science Minister Victor Doerksen.

Minister Oberg will also meet with representatives from Cisco Systems, Inc. in San Jose. Alberta is looking at expanding its partnerships with Cisco Systems, which already works within our education system. Cisco Systems has already committed a million dollars toward the masters degree program in Internet technology at the University of Alberta and through their Networking Academies and Labs, Cisco Systems Canada provides educational discounts to high schools and post-secondary institutions.

The Minister will also attend the 2003 Worldwide Education and Research Conference in San Francisco. This conference will include education leaders and experts in primary and secondary education technology.

The Minister will be joined by his executive assistant. Estimated cost for their travel is $3,100.