Program Trains High Schoolers On Operating Heavy Equipment

Provincial officials hope an enhanced heavy equipment CO-OP program will give high schoolers more hands-on learning opportunities.

As a collaboration between the New Brunswick Road Builders Association and two governmental departments, the program aims to motivate students who are interested in skilled trades.

“Increasing experiential learning opportunities builds on the government’s promise of providing all students with a world-class education system, allowing them to reach their full potential,” said Education Minister Bill Hogan.

The province says the CO-OP programs focus on fields with high labour market demands, such as the long-term care and early childhood learning sectors.

It’s with the hope of students joining those job sectors after high school graduation or pursuing more schooling in a certain field.

“With many skilled-trades people leaving the workforce over the next few years, it is critical that we encourage our youth to step up and fill the void,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder.

Association president Randy Chase says it is important to attract youth to the industry given its high demand.

Thanks to a mobile classroom purchased for $300,000 by the road builders association, the province says students spend 18 weeks becoming well versed in operating heavy equipment.

Officials say the first three weeks involve classroom work, like resumé and cover letter writing. The following six weeks focus on students using simulators to learn how to operate skid steers, backhoes and wheel loaders.

The final nine weeks are spent working in the field.

Woodstock High School will host the mobile classroom for the remainder of the school year, but it will then move each semester to schools around the province.