The provincial government has announced $490,639 for a new tower crane operator training program to be delivered at the Operating Engineers College, Holyrood campus.
In a news release, the province said this program will be the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada and will help meet demands for tower crane operators for projects such as the Hebron gravity-based structure.
The provincial funding is provided through the federal-provincial Labour Market Development Agreement. A total of more than $700,000 is being allocated for this program, provided through the provincial government, the Operating Engineers College and the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 904.
“The development of the tower crane operator training program is a true example of partnership in action and the direct result of the provincial government listening and being responsive to the needs of industry,” said Joan Burke, minister of advanced education and skills. “Newfoundland and Labrador will see as many as 70,000 job openings by 2020 and, as a government, we are working with our partners, including business, labour and training institutions, to take full advantage of the opportunities ahead.”
Under the new program, three 12-week training sessions will be offered over the next year, with about 10 students in each session. The first training session is planned to begin in October 2012 and will include a combination of classroom-based instruction and hands-on training.
“The Operating Engineers College provides operators with the opportunity to upgrade and enhance their skills, and to produce an on-going supply of apprentices and certified journeypersons to the construction industry,” said Lorna Harnum, administrator for the Operating Engineers College. “Now, because of the strong partnership that exists between the provincial government, the college, Operating Engineers Local 904 and industry, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians will have the opportunity to avail of the only tower crane program offered in Atlantic Canada.”
Students will have the opportunity to develop and apply skills needed to operate a tower crane through the use of a computerized simulator featuring crane controls, a cab-like enclosure, surround visual-system, life-like work sites and instructor’s station. Students will also gain field experience in using a 16-tonne tower crane, similar to the cranes to be used for the Hebron construction site.
“Through continued support and collaboration with all our stakeholders, the provincial government is helping to ensure labour demands are met so our economy can thrive,” said Burke. “In this time of unprecedented development in our province, we will continue with these efforts to help ensure today’s opportunities are securing tomorrow’s prosperity for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”