../Morning Post
Posted April 14, 2011

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Energy

Conestoga and Partners Deliver Skilled Workers for Renewable Energy Industries

Kitchener - The growing interest in green, renewable energy as an environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuel-based power sources has recently led to the emergence of a new industry sector requiring workers with highly specialized training and skills.

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, in conjunction with partners in government and industry, has been working to address this emerging need through the delivery of unique programming focused on renewable energy techniques and technologies. The first groups of students in two programs completed their training early in April, 2011 and are now ready to take their places in Canada’s burgeoning industry.

Based on the success of these initial programs as well as the anticipated need for such workers, Conestoga will offer a full-time, six-month training program in Renewable Energy Techniques at its Skills Centre in Ingersoll beginning this September.

According to Shawn DeBruyn, Corporate Training Advisor at Conestoga, graduates from the new programs will be in high demand. “With the speed of this new industry’s emergence and growth, there has been little opportunity for educational institutions to develop programs that will train the skilled workers that companies need,” said DeBruyn. “We’ve been fortunate at Conestoga, in that we could draw on our Continuing Education and Corporate Training divisions to address industry needs as we worked to build post-secondary training programs for the next generation of workers.”

A six-month program in renewable energy funded through the Projects in Emerging Sectors for Aboriginal People was recently completed. The program, delivered at Six Nations of the Grand River in Ohsweken, Ontario was delivered in partnership with the Ogwehoweh Skills & Trades Training Centre and Grand River Employment and Training.

A companion program aimed at local youth looking for ways to connect with the labour market has just been completed at Conestoga’s Doon campus. This eight-week program, delivered in partnership with the Workforce Planning Board, concentrated on Solar Install & Design training, preparing students to create, install and maintain functional photovoltaic systems.

The full-time, six-month Renewable Energy Techniques certificate program to be introduced at the Ingersoll Skills Centre in September will give students the skills and knowledge to create, install and maintain functional renewable energy systems, including solar power, wind, solar thermal technologies and other forms of alternative energies. Applications are still open. For more information, contact Conestoga’s Information Centre at 519-748-5220 ext. 3656.

Supplies for the hands-on training components of the program were generously provided by industry sponsors, including RoofMart, Photowatt Ontario Inc., Gerrie Electric, Preformed Line Products Canada, Schletter Canada and Ingersoll Home Hardware.

www.conestogac.on.ca

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