Alberta polytechnics sign agreement with one of China's largest companies during Asia-Pacific trade mission

NAIT and SAIT to explore Heavy Duty Electric Vehicle training program to support BYD Canada in its delivery of electric buses to Alberta

BEIJING, China, April 20, 2017 /CNW/ - The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and BYD Company Ltd. (BYD) signed a letter of intent today in China, as part of the Government of Alberta's Asia-Pacific trade mission. 

A central focus of the trade mission is to grow Alberta's capacity for clean technology and renewable energy. BYD, a world leader in battery technologies and zero-emission, Heavy Duty Electric Vehicles (HDEVs), is making inroads in Alberta. The City of St. Albert purchased Canada's first long-range battery electric transit buses in February, 2016. Other agreements are pending. Last fall, the Government of Alberta signed a framework agreement with BYD to promote the facilitation of collaborative research and development and commercialization activities.

The official signing of the letter of intent for SAIT, NAIT and BYD paves the way to create a world class certified training course for servicing HDEVs, including coach buses, garbage trucks, airport service vehicles, courier vans and industrial-sized trucks. The programs would be taught by certified instructors at NAIT and SAIT campuses or via remote delivery or onsite training. The terms of the agreement also underscore the importance of translating the program into different languages to be used globally. A milestone outlined in the non-binding terms establishes a clear timeline for next steps, including a formalized agreement within six months and an anticipated start to training programs to follow in one year's time.

The Alberta Government-led mission includes today's meetings in Beijing, as well as visits to Guangzhou, China and Tokyo, Japan. 

QUOTES

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Government of Alberta
"One of Alberta's greatest strengths is our highly skilled workforce, and that is in part due to institutions like NAIT and SAIT who have been providing exceptional training for Albertans, Canadians and international students alike for decades. The Alberta government is proud to represent our province on the global stage and support Alberta organizations as they build international partnerships. As we work towards a more diversified economy, training in emerging sectors like clean technology is essential to encourage job growth. The more we showcase Alberta's opportunities abroad, the more opportunities we see at home."

Ted Dowling, BYD Regional Vice-President Heavy Industries
"We are very excited about working with these two world class institutes on what will be the first ever training program specifically designed for Heavy Duty Electric Vehicles. BYD has delivered over 15,000 HDEVs worldwide in less than a five-year period, including buses, trucks and courier vans. One of our vehicles is responsible for removing 1 to 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per week. BYD builds and delivers the solution. Zero is today."

Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT President and CEO
"NAIT is very pleased to collaborate with SAIT and to sign an agreement with BYD that allows us to do the groundwork required to support innovations like Heavy Duty Electric Vehicles in Alberta. NAIT has a well-developed history of successfully delivering customized training here at home and abroad.  Innovations like this are essential to Alberta and essential to the industries we support. Our provincial government's collaboration with global companies like BYD supports the diversification of Alberta's economy, high tech skill development and increase our province's ability to compete worldwide.

Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO
"SAIT is pleased to work in partnership with NAIT in this new Heavy Duty Electric Vehicles certification initiative. We are proud the Government of Alberta, and industry leader BYD, look to SAIT to produce a globally recognized, competency based learning model that will help with the positive economic growth in the province. This unique alliance will help advance graduates' knowledge and allow them to gain valuable experience with a variety of technologies dedicated toward environmental sustainability."

About the Partners
BYD Company Ltd. is one of China's largest companies and has successfully expanded globally. Specializing in battery technologies, their green mission to "solve the whole problem" has made them industry pioneers and leaders in several high-tech sectors. As the world's largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, their mission to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies has led to the development of the BYD Iron Phosphate (or "Fe") Battery. BYD and all of their shareholders, including American Investor Warren Buffett, see these environmentally and economically forward products as the way of the future.

BYD has made a strong entrance to the North, Central and South American markets. Their mission lies not just in sales growth, but also in sociological integration and local job creation as they have poured incredible investments into developing offices, dealerships and manufacturing facilities in the local communities they now call home, truly a first for Chinese companies. www.byd.com

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment; business; health and trades. With nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students and a 95 per cent employer satisfaction rate, NAIT grads are essential to Alberta's prosperity. Known for hands-on, technology-based learning, NAIT engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. Recognized as one of Alberta's top employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., NAIT provides outstanding returns on investment for its graduates, partners, the provincial government and the people of Alberta. NAIT was named Best Overall Workplace (750 or more employees) in 2016 by Alberta Venture Magazine. www.nait.ca

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
Established in 1916, SAIT was the first publicly funded technical school of its kind in North America. Today, SAIT is a global leader in applied education and offers more than 100 career programs and more than 1,400 part-time courses. Action-based learning, solution-focused research and enterprising collaborations with industry partners ensure SAIT students are career-ready when they graduate. SAIT is honoured to be selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Alberta's Top Employers for 2017 and to be awarded Best Workplace for Volunteerism and Community Involvement for 2016 by Alberta Venture Magazine. sait.ca

SOURCE Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

For further information: Media inquiries: Frank Landry, NAIT Media Relations, P 780.471.8450, C 780.916.8307 E flandry@nait.ca, www.nait.ca/newsroom; Chris Gerritsen, SAIT Media Relations, P 403.284.8473 C 403.975.6366, E chris.gerritsen@sait.ca, www.sait.ca

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