For the seventh consecutive year, NAIT has been named one of the top employers in Alberta. The annual competition, held by Alberta’s Top Employers, named the 70 best places to work on Feb. 21.
The criteria include: work atmosphere, training and skills development; and community involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field and the cream of the crop make the top of the list. NAIT has been on the list every year since 2012.
This year, a few factors pushed NAIT to the top of the pile including participation in Pride Week, exceptional maternity leave payments, and flexible work options available to employees. This flexibility is one reason Norm Peterson, instructor at NAIT for 29 years and chair of the Graphic Communications program, appreciates his role at the school so much.
“They really allow any staff members to grow, develop, and expand our horizons. I started off as a lab tech, moved into an instructional role and then into the chair role,” said Peterson. “You’re really free to develop within NAIT. You don’t just come in and say, ‘Hey, this is my job here, and this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my career.’ You’re really allowed to expand.”
Aside from run of the mill perks like a pension and benefits, this kind of flexibility and room for development is likely why the institute has been at the top seven years running.
“When I came to NAIT, I had my apprenticeship certification for pre-press, and then I moved into my Education degree, got my BEd and then received my masters through the U of A in Communications and Technology, ” said Peterson.
“And NAIT was very supportive, not only with the flexibility of time but also even covering some of the expenses, as well. NAIT does really well at encouraging staff to develop, with conferences, training, any of that kind of stuff … they really encourage you to keep current with the industry.” Peterson says that the school also has a great atmosphere for building relationships and networking, both inside the school and with industry professionals as well.
Peterson’s near 30-year employment at the school is likely a testament to the superior work environment. Not only does NAIT offer great benefits and the incentive to grow, the health and wellness options for employees are further factors that contribute to its success. The access to great fitness amenities and yearly employee wellness grants is something a lot of staff take advantage of. But perhaps the most important influence in NAIT’s great employee environment is the friendly and inclusive atmosphere.
“It’s a very respectful environment, we’re all inclusive of everyone, we respect each other and we have a lot of fun.”
Other post-secondaries within the Top 70 included the University of Calgary, Lakeland College (Lloydminster and Vermilion), and SAIT.
– Kelsey Baker