More training, lower cost: N.W.T. opens distance training facility for municipal staff

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More training, lower cost: N.W.T. opens distance training facility for municipal staff

The N.W.T. government is using the latest video conferencing technology to bring training closer to remote community governments.

On Thursday, the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs — which is responsible for training municipal councillors and staff across the territory through its School of Community Government— opened a distance training facility in Yellowknife. The classroom is equipped with three cameras, computers for students, and large video monitors.

The department has also installed video conferencing technology in the department's five regional offices: Yellowknife, Fort Simpson, Fort Smith, Norman Wells, and Inuvik.

"One of the things this is going to do is it's going to give people choice," said Eleanor Young, deputy minister of MACA.

"Someone in Ulukhaktok, instead of coming to Yellowknife and being stuck here for eight or 10 days, could go to the regional office in Inuvik and take the course and be able to get back and forth quicker and with less expense."

Some of the courses offered include fire services instructor, water treatment operator training, governance workshops, and emergency management.

Young said it was previously typical for one staff member from a community government to travel to Yellowknife for a course, but now, a whole office can be trained at the same time and at a lower cost.

Communities outside the regional centres can still log in to the system, but may experience video lag due to insufficient internet speeds.

The Yellowknife training facility cost about $200,000. Young said she expects the system to pay itself off within a year or two.