Power Engineers are critical to the electricity industry across the country, and these specialized positions are difficult to recruit. SaskPower, in partnership with the Prairie South School Division, has launched a new tool to help young people in the province get the experience they need to fill these important roles.
On Nov. 9, SaskPower launched a new mobile lab to support Grades 11 and 12 students in the Prairie South School Division as they work toward building credits for their Fifth Class Power Engineering Certificate. The mobile lab is essentially a boiler room on wheels. Students participating in the program can find it challenging to travel to the nearest power station in order to complete their mandatory lab hours. The mobile lab helps alleviate this challenge by creating easier access for students and 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. 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,” said Howard Matthews, Vice-President, Power Production, SaskPower. “We have to plan for the future, so we’re investing in students now.”
The mobile lab is a great technological addition to the Power Engineering program that Prairie South School Division offers their students. “The lab is parked right on school grounds, which reduces the need for students to commute to the nearest power plant to complete hours toward their steam time and work study component,” said Barbara Compton, Superintendent of Operations, Prairie South School Division. “It makes participation in the program more attractive to students.”
The mobile lab is currently in use at Central Collegiate Institute in Moose Jaw. From there it will move to Gravelbourg on Nov. 22 and Assiniboia on Dec. 6. The mobile lab will be available to any school divisions which register students in Prairie South’s online Introduction to Power Engineering courses for the 2016-2017 school year.