MAPLE CREEK, SK – After two years of offering Class Five Power Engineering at Great Plains College Maple Creek Program Centre, six individuals have completed the program and are moving on to further educational and employment opportunities.
The college, SaskPower and Nekaneet First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019 that introduced a Class Five Power Engineering educational opportunity to the community. The new pathway program allowed students to complete their grade 12 education, while also completing the courses and steam-time requirements needed to write the Class Five Power Engineering exam and obtain a Fifth Class Power Engineering license.
“Power engineers are essential to meet SaskPower’s generating requirements,” says Howard Matthews, vice president of power production with SaskPower. “Keeping training local and building homegrown talent is important to support the demands on recruitment and retention. This program has been very successful in providing students from Nekaneet First Nation and local communities with an opportunity to explore a career with SaskPower.”
Credit courses were delivered through a combination of online and in-class learning, safety ticket acquisition and 100 hours of hands-on experience: one in SaskPower’s mobile power engineering lab and one at SaskPower’s Chinook Power Station. “The theory component was delivered through online modules along with a work-study to earn the TSASK recognized steam-time component,” says program coordinator Kim Wellings. “We are grateful for SaskPower’s cooperation and participation in the program – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
Of six that have graduated from the program, all are employed for the summer and will be continuing their education. “This experience has allowed me to make an informed decision on pursuing a career in Power Engineering,” says student DJ Anderson. “I’ll be working for SaskPower through the summer and have decided to continue my Power Engineering education in the fall at Swift Current Campus.”
The Fourth and Third Class Power Engineering programs start in September at Swift Current Campus. Graduates of these programs work in a wide variety of industrial and commercial facilities and are largely responsible for the operation, maintenance, renovation and repair of boiler systems and other mechanical systems.