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Aurora College

Aurora College has been providing education and training for Northerners for nearly 50 years. From its roots as a technical-vocational school operating out of Fort Smith, NT, Aurora College has grown into an institution that offers a broad spectrum of adult and post-secondary programs ranging from Developmental Studies to trades, certificate, diploma, and degree programs. Aurora College programs are developed and chosen to meet the needs of individuals, communities and the labour market. Through the Aurora Research Institute, Aurora College is responsible for scientific activity and innovation that responds to Northern priorities. The College’s goal is to deliver programs and courses as close to communities as possible. This is achieved through a network of three regional campuses – located in Fort Smith, Inuvik and Yellowknife – as well as 23 Community Learning Centres across the Northwest Territories. The programs and services delivered provide students the vocation and professional skills, communication skills and life skills required for success in their chosen careers. Aurora College serves a population of 41,000 dispersed across 1.3 million square kilometres in 33 communities. The majority of Aurora College students are Aboriginal, and many are from small, remote communities. Aurora College is focused on student success and is committed to supporting the development of Northern society through excellence in education, training and research, while always remaining culturally sensitive and responsive to the people served.

Fast Facts

  • In any given year, the equivalent of 10 percent of the adult population of the NWT is enrolled in a class, course, program, or workshop delivered by Aurora College.
  • Nearly 300 Registered Nurses have graduated from our programs, many of whom continue to reside and work in the north.
  • Teacher Education (now Bachelor of Education) has been offered, in partnership with University of Saskatchewan, since 1968.
  • Traditional Knowledge is a component of a number of research projects overseen by the Aurora Research Institute.
  • The first program offered at Aurora College was Heavy Equipment Operator; it is still one of the most popular and well subscribed courses offered.

Our research specialization:

  • Aquatic Ecosystems Health
  • Indigenous Northern Plant Species Revegetation
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Northern Climate Change
  • Alternate Energy Sources




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This is how we...

Contribute to our Community

Aurora College campuses and Community Learning Centres are active members of each of the Northwest Territories communities in which they operate. In the three campus communities – Fort Smith, Inuvik and Yellowknife – the Aurora Research Institute hosts regular speaker series, featuring local, national and international researchers and their work. Students and staff are involved in community and volunteer positions such as volunteer firefighters, sitting on municipal councils, as members and leaders of numerous volunteer organizations and agencies. In the campus communities, the annual influx of students is an important contributor to the local economies. Aurora College is one of the largest employers in the NWT, and the local purchase of goods and services required to deliver programming is beneficial to the entire region. Aurora College alumni are employed in every sector of the Northwest Territories; the College plays an essential role in helping individuals develop the professional and vocational expertise and skills that are required in the territory. Many prominent northerners are Aurora College alumni, including former NWT premiers, territorial and federal cabinet ministers, leaders of Aboriginal governments, business owners and managers, professionals, and others.

Foster Student Success

Lillian Kanayok

Ulukhaktok, NT – Adult Basic Education
Watch video to learn more.

Partner with Business and Community


Aurora College and the Mine Training Society (MTS) NWT have collaborated on the development and delivery of dozens of training projects since the inception of the MTS. The Mine Training Society is a non-profit society of Aboriginal, industry and government representatives established to promote, coordinate and facilitate the delivery of training programs to meet the needs of the NWT mining labour force. The MTS also plays an important role in mining career development and awareness. Aurora College and the MTS work with each other and additional partners to develop new training programs and opportunities as the need arises.


Aurora College and NWT Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) partners have developed a protocol and working relationship that have shaped a common and shared goal which has resulted in a measurable increased success rate for adult learners in Adult Literacy and Basic Education (ALBE) programs. The common goal is to identify, develop, and deliver training programs and courses throughout the NWT that are responsive and targeted to regional needs. In addition, the partners have built relationships based on mutual respect and recognition of each partner’s strengths and contributions, and honesty, trust, commitment and collaboration. The partners strive to ensure communication is effective, clear, open and reciprocal. Shared knowledge, training and updating of skills, and the sharing of relevant issues in the community have provided benefits for adult learners in ALBE programs in the Northwest Territories.

Support Indigenous Students

The majority of Aurora College students are Indigenous. As a college of the north, Traditional Cultures are a regular part of our operations, interwoven into campus, class and school activities. On-the-land learning opportunities are an integral component of most certificate, diploma and degree programs offered. Local Elders are regularly accessed as guest lecturers and instructors, as well as resource people when developing curriculum and course materials. Traditional practices are incorporated into special events held at the College; for example, convocating students are always ushered in to a drum song. Extra-curricular activities and interest classes include handgames, drumming, beading, traditional sewing, mitt making, and others. Free traditional language courses are offered in several locations.

Programs & Services of Interest

Date modified: 2018-10-11