Northern Lakes College made a big impression in Slave Lake when it moved an 80-ton Terex crawler crane onto a site next to the Slave Lake campus. The reason it was there became apparent in mid-August, when the college held a launch event for its crane operator course, along with its mobile trades lab facility. By then there were three of four more cranes of different types on the site.
It was an impressive array of equipment and if its purpose was to draw attention to what the college has to offer, it certainly accomplished that. It’s a vivid illustration of what college officials have been bragging about for some time – that NLC is getting pretty seriously into the trades.
A lot of people were wondering how the college managed to acquire all those cranes. According to an Aug. 12 news release, the program “received a financial boost from Advanced Education, which has allowed the college to purchase six pieces of state of the art equipment.”
NLC’s Dean of Trades and Technology Nelson Lutz says, “Each crane is unique in terms of its capacity and the range of work performed. Students will receive hands-on technical training on the very latest computerized crane and hoist equipment.”
The idea is that wherever the demand for such training is, around the province – outside of Edmonton and Calgary – NLC will go there and provide it.
As for the mobile training labs (currently two of them), the story is similar. These are specially designed expandable trailers that can be hauled to remote communities, where instructors will teach people pre-employment welding, carpentry and other skills, without them having to leave home to get it.
Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt took part in the Aug. 12 celebration of the two NLC programs, cutting a ribbon and making a speech.
“Our government knows the creation of education and career opportunities depends on innovative approaches to training throughout the province,” he said.
NLC President Ann Everatt predicts, “our students will benefit tremendously,” by the new crane equipment and mobile labs.
Crane operator courses are planned this year for Slave Lake, Red Deer and Grande Prairie. Mobile trades lab sessions are scheduled for Wabasca and Sturgeon Lake.
“We expect the list of communities to continue to grow,” says Valerie Tradewell of NLC, “as there has been a lot of interest expressed from various communities.”