Friday, January 13, 2012

Complete Heavy Duty Equipment Courses at Centennial College In Just Two Years

“This is an introductory program for students to get into the heavy equipment industry,” says Angelo Spanno, a professor in the Heavy Duty Equipment Technician program at Centennial College. “The program consists of an eight-month in-school portion. Then the following eight months is done during a co-op term actually working for an employer on a full-time basis for the entire eight months. Then there’s a final eight-month portion to finish the program.” While Angelo outlines the technical aspect of this undertaking, Kelsey, a student, expands on why the program is worthwhile. “I decided to take the [heavy equipment courses] because I thought it was there was a good demand. As the economy gets worse, there’s always going to be construction jobs; there’s good pay and I like working with my hands. The coolest part of the program is just getting to play with the equipment and circuit boards, learning to use all the different tools and how to perform maintenance.”

In order to benefit from the heavy equipment courses offered at Centennial College, students must complete the application process. This includes being able to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or General Educational Development (GED) or equivalent. Non-academic requirements include: satisfactory results in a program admission session, experience and mechanical aptitude, resumé and English proficiency.

As Angelo mentioned, the students in the program split their time between Centennial College and an employer in the field. When they are in-school, students participate in courses that give them the necessary knowledge to go into their co-op placement and not be lost. Heavy Equipment Courses include: Drive Train Systems (covers differential, final drives and power dividers, power shift transmission systems), Hoisting and Rigging Technology (fundamentals and principles of leverage and power, mechanical advantage, material strength, and more); Engine Systems (designed to provide the apprentice technician with an understanding of the fundamentals and concepts or internal combustion engines); and others. In addition, working out of Ashontbee Campus — the largest transportation training centre in the province — students train on heavy duty equipment assemblies in fully-equipped heavy duty equipment labs.

Meanwhile, the eight months of practical training sees students at a heavy equipment facility, working among professionals in the field. This is an opportunity to not only apply what was learned in school but also to network and get to know professionals in the field. Many students end up staying on as full-time employees at their co-op placement upon graduation as they enter the apprenticeship aspect of their careers.

Speaking of graduation, once the program is completed students go onto to become heavy duty equipment technicians, service managers, service writers or coordinators, equipment company representatives, or college or industry teachers. Professionals are not only employed in a variety of positions, but also in a variety of industries that include: forestry, construction, mining, transportation, landscaping, land cleaning, farming and more.

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