Carbonear campus offers Construction Training pilot project
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.”
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.
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.