SaskPower launches mobile power engineering training lab

Renée Francoeur
November 17, 2015
By
Jeff Boulton, principal of Prairie South Virtual School, explains the boiler to students.
Jeff Boulton, principal of Prairie South Virtual School, explains the boiler to students. Photo courtesy SaskPower.
November 17, 2015 - SaskPower says power engineers are critical to the electricity industry across the country, but these specialized positions are difficult to recruit. In response, the utility—in partnership with the Prairie South School Division in the west-central part of Saskatchewan—has launched a new tool to help young people in the province get the experience they need to fill these roles.

SaskPower presented a “mobile lab” on November 9 to support Grade 11 and 12 students in the division as they work toward building credits for their Fifth Class Power Engineering Certificate. The lab is essentially a boiler room on wheels, SaskPower says. Students participating in the program can find it challenging to travel to the nearest power station in order to complete their mandatory lab hours so the mobile lab creates easier access for students as well as increasing awareness of a high-demand career.

“SaskPower, and the industry in general, has a hard time recruiting First and Second Class Power Engineers. Most of them take their first two or three levels and then stop”, says Howard Matthews, vice-president of Power Production with SaskPower. “We feel that by raising awareness of the trade, the number of applicants into the program will increase, and will result in more First and Second Class Power Engineers in the industry.”

The mobile lab is a “great technological addition” to the Power Engineering program that Prairie South School Division offers their students, the utility adds, and is parked right on school grounds.

The lab is currently in use at Central Collegiate Institute in Moose Jaw. From there it will move to Gravelbourg on November 22 and Assiniboia on December 6. It will be available to any school that registers students in Prairie South’s online Introduction to Power Engineering courses for the 2016-2017 school year.

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