Elevating training opportunities for crane operators
SAIT is helping more crane and hoisting equipment operators earn their journeyperson certificates, providing much needed technical training to an in-demand industry.
This January, SAIT launched two new apprenticeship programs — Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator - Boom Truck and Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator - Mobile Crane. Previously, training for these trades was only offered in northern Alberta.
Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training approached SAIT in early 2014 to offer the programs to help alleviate the bottleneck in training.
"Because it is a highly specialized program, the availability for the training has been very limited, therefore industry can't get the amount of people they need to do the jobs that are required of them," says Jim Szautner, Associate Dean of the School of Manufacturing and Automation.
Crane and hoisting equipment operator is a compulsory trade, meaning workers must be an indentured apprentice, journeyperson or hold a recognized credential. Szautner says providing more apprentices with the opportunity to become journeyperson is essential for businesses to expand.
"In order to hire more apprentices, you need journeypeople. If they can't get the critical mass of journeypeople they need, they can't hire more apprentices."
More convenient training option for southern Alberta operators
Crane and hoisting equipment operators service and operate the hoist and swing equipment used to lift machinery, materials and other large objects. They work in a variety of industries, including forestry, mining, construction, and oil and gas.
"It slows down a bit with the economy, but for the most part, there's always work to be done," says Jamie Tomlinson, one of four instructors for the programs and a previous operator for the British Army and Bow City Crane.
Tomlinson adds the new SAIT programs will also alleviate the financial stress of apprenticeship training.
"I think more people are going to go to school because they don't have to travel up north where they have to pay for housing as well as tuition."
Adrian Bruce, who is currently completing his boom truck training at SAIT, agrees. He was initially anticipating moving to Slave Lake to attend technical training.
"The second I got the email from AIT [about the SAIT program] I called and signed-up. This is remarkably convenient. It gives me more options, more flexibility and I'm more valuable to the company I work for."
Providing leading technology for training
In addition to the existing trucks on-site at the Mayland Heights campus, Szautner says SAIT is now working on acquiring high-fidelity simulators for the programs in order to give apprentices more hands-on training.
"With the simulators we can create situations you wouldn't want to do in the real-world. High-risk situations, like a sling breaking or a crane tipping backwards, because it's gone beyond its weight limit."
SAIT has opened 84 seats for the Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator programs this year and expects to nearly double that for the 2015/16 training year. Visit Tradesecrets.alberta.ca to see upcoming training periods.
Feb. 5, 2015