The Crane and Hoisting program got a big lift on Nov. 18 when NAIT staff, student leaders and dignitaries packed into a canvas tent in Spruce Grove to kick off construction of NAIT’s newest campus. Scheduled to open in June 2016, the facility will be the new home of the expanded program.
Dr. Glenn Feltham, NAIT President and CEO, opened the event by emphasizing the importance of the Crane and Hoisting Program to Alberta and the impact the new Spruce Grove campus will have on NAIT’s ability to meet industry demand.
“The need for crane operators in our province is significant,” Feltham said.
“With billions in development happening in downtown Edmonton alone, Alberta needs a highly skilled workforce to build the required infrastructure.
“Our new campus in Spruce Grove will allow even more people to access the polytechnic education they need for a rewarding career,” he said.
The new campus is expected to increase available seats in the program by 80 per cent to roughly 500, compared to the 276 seats currently available.
In addition to standard cranes, six of which will be moved to the site prior to the start of classes next year, the new facility will be home to classrooms and state-of-the-art simulation labs. The simulators will offer additional training and allow future crane operators to experience situations they may only see once or twice in their careers in a safe environment.
Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Advanced Education and Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour participated in the ceremony, stating as well: “Our government understands the need to access high quality training,” Sigurdson said. “This new campus will give apprentices access to a state of the art facility. We know the demand for skilled labour continues to exist in many sectors.
“As the economy starts to rebound, our government is ensuring the apprenticeship system is ready to meet the demand for skilled labour,” she said.
The new facility has been funded by a $7.8 million commitment from the provincial government and represents a significant opportunity for expansion in other NAIT programs.
As NAIT continues to grow on main campus, other programs needing to expand may find accommodations in the new facility. The new location gives NAIT flexibility when working on programs that are not suitable for an urban campus.
The ground breaking ceremony itself saw a number of Spruce Grove city councillors in attendance, along with representatives from builder Melcor Developments.