Thursday, 24 April 2014, 5:03 pm

Province announces over $400 thousand for Niagara College Innovation Fund

By MICHELLE ALLENBERG
Staff writer

Minister Brad Duguid announced the Ontario government will be providing $428,130 to Niagara College through the Productivity and Innovation Fund.
The money will be used to make the college more innovative and improve students’ learning experiences.
Duguid said in a statement, “We are working with our colleges and universities to make sure our post-secondary education system is sustainable and supports greater equality, international competitiveness and accountability. Through these investments, we will continue to build on the gains made in post-secondary education over the past 10 years.”
Duguid toured the Wine and Brewery Institute at the college on Dec. 17. On the tour he was able to taste a variety of Niagara College’s wines and beer.
Terence Van Rooyen, applied oenology professor, and Jessica Reese, a second-year Viticulture student, showed Duguid around the winery and let him taste some of the wine produced.
Duguid had the chance to press grapes used to make ice wine deeming the resulting grape juice he tasted “nice,” and adding he “happy” he didn’t have to take his shoes off for the pressing.
Duguid toured the beer brewery and was shown around by Jon Downing, a Brewmaster professor, and Jamie Daust, head brewer. Duguid tasted some of the college’s beers and asked what the darkest beer was. One of the students said the darkest the college makes is called Butler’s Bitter.
Duguid said there was a need for a Brewery program in Canada and Niagara College is “fulfilling the need.” He noted that before this program began, students had to travel to Europe to become a brewmaster, but now they can come to Niagara College, the only college in Canada with this program.
Duguid said it is “incredibly important in this competitive global economy” to have a specialization of programs at colleges.
Duguid had the chance to tour the research facilities also. Nigel Corish, research project manager, helped facilitate it. Corish informed Duguid the college has made a non-alcoholic beer with zero per cent alcohol content compared to the typical 0.5 per cent. He said this was important for the organization Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD). The non-alcoholic beer will go into production and distribution next year.
Duguid said, “If we aren’t doing research, if we aren’t doing cutting edge, it will pass by us.” He added, “There is a passion in here, you can feel it.”
Dan Patterson, president of Niagara College, said the research is “stimulating economic growth in the area.”
At the end of the tour Patterson gave a speech and mentioned there is a group of four Niagara College students, who will be representing Canada at the junior level, attending an international cooking competition in Germany next year. He gave Duguid a photograph each of them had autographed. Duguid thanked Patterson saying he would frame the picture, adding, “This is my new Team Canada now.”
“Niagara College is grateful to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for supporting these important projects,” Patterson said. “These initiatives support key strategic priorities, and will ultimately enhance our ability to provide unparalleled experience and services for our students.”
Duguid said he found the tour “eye opening” and had no idea the facility was that “elaborate.” He said the tour was “incredibly inspiring” because of the amount of “passion.” Duguid said if the students graduate with the same amount of passion they will be successful.

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