Car­bon­ear cam­pus of­fers Con­struc­tion Train­ing pi­lot project

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BUR­TON K. JANES

Ten stu­dents at the Car­bon­ear cam­pus of the Col­lege of the North At­lantic are near­ing com­ple­tion of a unique 20-week con­struc­tion train­ing pro­gram.

The Retro­fit Skills Train­ing Prog ram ( RSTP) com­bines per­sonal/ca­reer devel­op­ment, trades spe­cific the­ory and shop train­ing with a field place­ment com­po­nent.

“ The main idea is to get those young peo­ple, who need some up­grad­ing with their skills, to get into the job mar­ket, to give them a chance to learn some prac­ti­cal skills they can use in the work­place,” said Marie Neil, co­or­di­nat­ing in­struc­tor.

The course, which be­gan Apr. 26, is funded by the new Labour Mar­ket Devel­op­ment Agree­ment (LMDA) be­tween the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments and the fed­eral Strate­gic Train­ing and Tran­si­tion Fund. Randy Til­ley and John Rowe are the car­pen­try in­struc­tor and in­struc­tional as­sis­tant, re­spec­tively.

At the end of the pro­gram, Sept. 17, stu­dents will walk away with the tech­ni­cal skills needed to work as as­sis­tants or labour­ers on con­struc­tion sites.

There is also a prac­ti­cal, hands-on as­pect to the train­ing.

In­struc­tors pro­vide stu­dents, who range in age from 19 to 45, with op­por­tu­ni­ties to put their skills into prac­tice as they com­plete en­ergy up­grades and retrofitting to build­ings or homes.

“ When the stu­dents were in class, they were anx­ious to get out in the field,” Rowe com­mented.

The class of four women and six men is be­ing taught to rec­og­nize safe and ef­fi­cient work habits, which are con­sid­ered op­ti­mal prac­tices in a trade shop, in­dus­trial site or con­struc­tion work­site.

Rig­ging tech­niques, along with the se­lec­tion, use and care of ba­sic hand and power tools come un­der con­cen­trated fo­cus. Safety train­ing for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in Stan­dard First Aid, Work­place Haz­ardous Ma­te­ri­als In­for­ma­tion Sys­tem and Fork­lift closes out the course.

“ If this par­tic­u­lar pro­gram proves to be a suc­cess here, then it’s go­ing to be run else­where,” said Neil.

She has high hopes it will be re­peated.

“ We haven’t had any dropouts,” she noted. “ We started with 10 stu­dents, and we’re go­ing to end with 10 stu­dents. Ap­par­ently that’s un­heard of in these kinds of con­tract train­ing projects. That is cer­tainly an in­di­ca­tor that this has been a real suc­cess.”

The smiles on stu­dents’ faces in­di­cate their en­joy­ment of the pro­gram, Neil added.

“ The in­struc­tors and stu­dents work to­gether very well as a team,” she said. “ The dy­nam­ics of this par­tic­u­lar group are re­ally good. I think the stu­dents are go­ing to go away from here feel­ing re­ally good about what they’ve learned, the ex­pe­ri­ence they’ve had, and the skills they’re go­ing to take with them.”

Randy Til­ley echoes Neil’s sen­ti­ments. “ We teach teamwork here,” he said. “A big part of our teach­ing is be­com­ing a crew in the class­room as well as on the job­site. I think that was our biggest ac­com­plish­ment.”

Rowe added, “they’re a close knit group.”

“ We’re very proud of our part­ner­ship with the Col­lege of the North At­lantic,” said Len Simms, chair and CEO of New­found­land Labrador Hous­ing. “ The pro­gram shows how we can all work to­gether, to help im­prove the skill sets, ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing and job op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple in the skilled trades in­dus­try.”

Bill Bow­man/The Com­pass

Stu­dents from the Col­lege of the North At­lantic in­stall a door at an apart­ment build­ing in Car­bon­ear as part of their con­struc­tion train­ing pro­gram at the Car­bon­ear cam­pus.

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/The Com­pass

The Retro­fit Skills Train­ing Pro­gram is cur­rently in progress at CONA - Car­bon­ear cam­pus. Front left: Randy Til­ley, car­pen­try in­struc­tor and John Rowe, in­struc­tional as­sis­tant. Mid­dle row, from left: Jackie Turn­bull, Har­bour Grace; Donna Earle, Har­bour Grace; Marie Neil, co­or­di­nat­ing in­struc­tor; Adam Feltham, Car­bon­ear and Steven Crane, River­head. Back row, from left: Mike Lehr, Car­bon­ear; Doreen Vokey, Shearstown; Cassandra Par­sons; Co­ley’s Point; Keith Ped­dle, Bris­tol’s Hope; Justin Cole, Vic­to­ria and Keith Bai­ley, Har­bour Grace.

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