Another Lakeland first

By Geoff Lee

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

CHANGING NEEDS Ben Sey, dean of the School of Energy and Environmental Sciences at Lakeland College, said the college has worked with industry partners to create a 2nd class power engineering program better suited to the needs of the industry. FILE LLS PHOTO

Lakeland College plans to keep ahead of the energy training competition as the first college in Alberta to offer a 2nd class power engineering program.
The nine month certificate program will start this fall at the Lloydminster campus in response to industry demand.
“Demand for 2nd class power engineers is increasing, which is why we’re pleased to be able to offer this program at Lakeland,” said Ben Sey, dean for the School of Energy and Environmental Sciences in a launch news release on April 12.
“We’ve worked with our industry partners to create a program that better serves the changing needs of industry and the demand for more highly trained power engineers.”
Demand is strongest among pulp and paper, hospitals, institutions and food processing plants that use pressurized boilers similar to the teaching boilers at the Lakeland Energy Centre.
“It looks like all the food companies and the forestry industry, they all said they need 2nd class,” said instructor Kevin Ma, referencing a survey of Lakeland’s 66 industry partners.
“For example right now ADM in town, they need five and they can only get one, so they have four vacancies.”
There is a lesser demand from oil and gas companies that produce oil with steam, a trend that Ma attributes to the slowdown in energy investments.
“Only a handful of them said they have new projects going, but most of them said they won’t be hiring,” said Ma.
“It’s only those with a new project going that need a second class.”
Traditionally the oil industry pays higher wages said Ma, but with the slowdown in the sector,  “jumping ship” from other sectors doesn’t happen as often as before.
Two students applied to the new 2nd class power certificate program the day it was launched with good awareness of it among 3rd class power engineering students.
“We did a survey, and out of 70 people, 34 said they will come back if they can’t find a job,” said Ma.
The 2nd class grads can be employed as shift engineers in a 1st class-rated plant or pursue a career as a power engineering instructor. 
The new certificate program will offer face- to face training at the Energy Centre to an open number of students.
“We can handle as many as they come, said Ma.
“If we have more than one class, we can hire more instructors.’”
He said as it stands now, the program only needs 1.6 instructors and they have four 1st class power engineers on staff including himself.
Students also have the option to register for specific modules rather than the entire program.
This is expected to suit industry professionals with 3rd class certificates and for graduates of other programs who have completed some of the individual modules.
Each module covers one of the six exams required by the Alberta Boilers Safety Authority.
Also, Lakeland’s current heavy oil power engineering or HOPE students may continue their studies with this program and earn a 2nd class certificate.
Lakeland offers the heavy oil operations technician program (HOOT) and online blended courses for 4th, 3rd and 2nd class power engineering training as well as other energy related programs.

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