Conestoga news

April 18, 2007 1:31 PM

Success for First Group of Equipment Operator Apprentices

In a time when the need for a well-educated workforce is increasing, partnerships are the key to effective training and Heavey Equipment Operatorsuccessful educational initiatives.

Conestoga College, the Conestoga Heavy Construction Association and representatives of a number of the Association's member companies joined with program faculty and 15 apprenticeship students to mark the completion of training by Conestoga's first-ever class in the Heavy Equipment Operator program.

The event took place at Capital Paving Inc. on Wednesday, April 18.

The project partners worked together on initiating this program to meet an identified need in the industry. The resulting eight-week program involved three weeks of instruction at Conestoga's campus in Guelph, followed by five weeks of skills application and development on actual equipment on-site at Capital Paving, which is located south of Guelph.

The Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph area of Ontario has a very active construction industry, fuelled by a rapidly expanding population and commercial base. The area is recognized as one of the most active in Canada, and the demand exists for skilled personnel in all construction-related fields, including heavy equipment operator.

The industry-education partnership worked very well, because the participating local firms were generous with making available equipment for in-college and on-site training, in addition to furnishing the site for skills application on actual equipment such as backhoes, excavators, bulldozers and tractor loaders.

Delivering remarks at the event and congratulating the apprentices were Conestoga College President John Tibbits and Michael Doupe, President of the Conestoga Heavy Construction Association.

President Tibbits also acknowledged the participation of the five firms who were supportive of this training:
• H. Kerr Construction of Wingham, which provided excavator machine time, plus liaison with the Conestoga Heavy Construction Association
• Marshall Finamore Construction of Guelph, which supplied equipment used to acquire machining skills and practice at the Guelph campus
• Drexler Construction of Rockwood, which provided machine time for the apprentices at the pit location and the campus
• Advance Construction Equipment of Kitchener, which supplied machine time for the apprentices at the campus, and
• Capital Paving Inc. of Guelph, which provided the on-site location for the five-week practical training component.

As is the case with all of Conestoga's programs, Heavy Equipment Operator was undertaken in consultation and co-operation with local industry and professional associations to meet identified skills needs of immediate and lasting value to employers.

CONTACT: Stephen Speers, 519-824-9390, ext. 151,