Please Enter a Search Term

Taking his place

By Stephanie Barrett

Graduation day is always an exciting time for those receiving their diplomas. It is a culmination of hard work and sacrifice. No one knows this better than Patrick Kuniliusee and, on June 18, he became the first person from Nunavut to graduate from the Marine Institute’s marine diesel mechanics certificate program.

The marine diesel mechanics program prepares students for a career in the operation and maintenance of marine diesel engines and auxiliary equipment found on marine vessels or offshore drilling installations. The program lays the foundation for a student to become a practising marine engineer after required sea time is obtained.

Patrick Kuniliusee receives his diploma from MI’s executive director Glenn Blackwood at the institute’s graduation ceremony on June 18.

For the past 15 years, MI, together with its partners, has been working to deliver training courses throughout Nunavut.

“We’ve been working closely with the Nunavut Fisheries Training Consortium (NFTC) and the Nunavut Arctic College to recruit and train local residents for fisheries and marine career opportunities,” said Gerald Anderson, manager of Marketing and Business Development at the Marine Institute. “In the last four years we have trained approximately 400 people and now we can add Patrick to that list.”

Mr. Kuniliusee, originally from Qikiqtarjuaq, began the program in September 2008 in Nunavut and transferred to the Marine Institute campus in January 2009 to complete the course. He completed his work term with the Canadian Coast Guard on the CCGS Louis S. St. Laurent, a Canadian coast Guard icebreaker, and has now accepted a job with Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc. (NEAS).

“The course was challenging but well worth it,” Mr. Kuniliusee said. “I enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the program and am looking forward to putting my new skill set to work as I start my new career.”
Elisabeth Cayen, executive director with NFTC says this is a milestone for the consortium.

“In the past, NFTC has provided short term training courses however Patrick’s graduation from the marine diesel mechanic program marks the first graduate from a longer program,” she said. “This training will allow Patrick to work in the engine room of many types of ships and will provide him with sustainable employment in the marine industry.”

Ms. Cayen adds it is encouraging to see young Inuit beneficiaries who want to contribute to the economic development of Nunavut and who have set high standards and goals for themselves.

Jerry Ward, chief operating officer of the Baffin Fisheries Coalition, one of NFTC fishing industry partners, echoes Ms. Cayen’s sentiments. “This is a major step in preparing Nunavut residents for high-level positions in the fishing and marine transportation sectors,” he said. “We want to see them move from the factory floors into senior positions.”

MI’s long-term goal is to continue to share its fishery and marine transportation experience with the NFTC and the Nunavut Arctic College and to build capacity for marine and fisheries program delivery at the college.