The College of New Caledonia (CNC) is expecting students will be able to take their power engineering certification program in a new state-of-the-art facility at the Quesnel Campus in 2020.
Doug Jamieson, CNC’s associate dean of trades and technology, says the new power engineering facility and a new computer lab are on schedule to open later this year, but they don’t have a definite timeframe yet because they are still missing a piece of equipment for the boiler that comes from Italy.
“That piece is on their production schedule, and we’ll get it as soon as it’s ready,” he said. “So far, we’re on schedule, on budget and pretty excited we’ve been able to manage the project well to get it to this point.”
The $5 million trades expansion project at the Quesnel Campus will include a new high-pressure steam boiler, an expanded computer simulation lab, a new welding lab, a new atrium and additional yard space.
Installation of a larger pressure boiler and associated equipment is needed to meet Class 4 power engineering training required by the Power Engineering, Boilers, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation under the Safety Standards Act.
“What it does is it gives us a second full-fledged facility to be able to offer power engineering programming,” said Jamieson. “We saw strength in the Quesnel program for a number of years because of the waitlists we had in Prince George. We have full power engineering programs in Prince George, and that’s what sort of caused the overflow for Quesnel, but our facility wasn’t really up to standard, so the government came on board to help us establish a new facility that would allow us to deal with the overflow and address student needs in an effective and efficient manner. It’s a really awesome add-on to the Quesnel Campus. Quesnel has a full-blown college campus, everything there, so this just adds to our trades footprint and allows us to continue to be a leader in trades training.”
Jamieson says they had originally targeted programming to start in January 2020, but because they are missing this essential piece of equipment, that could be bumped to September 2020, depending on when the equipment gets here.
“We need to have enough time to promote and advertise the program and set up the internal pieces to pull students in,” he said. “But we’re looking to be able to start programming in the new facility in 2020, but dependent on the manufacturer of the boiler part we require.”
As part of this project, CNC Quesnel is also getting a new computer lab.
“There’s a fair amount of online and computer work required with the power engineering programming, so the new lab allowed us to be able to serve that particular program, but it also creates the opportunity for other trades programs when they’re testing or in certain theoretical elements where they require computers, it just expands our capacity there,” he said. “So it helps to relieve some pressure, and then for the wider Quesnel Campus community … it allows access to more computers, which is always a benefit.”
Jamieson says students who complete the power engineering certification program will be able to power plants in industrial facilities, hospitals, colleges, universities and mills.
“Power generation is a pretty big deal, and this is an in-demand career and a well-paying career as well,” he said. “Our graduates from power engineering can find work all throughout B.C. and Alberta on all kinds of projects of all sorts of scales. It’s really a bonus for CNC to have a second power engineering footprint in our ecosystem that allows us to prepare folks for high-quality jobs.”
Jamieson says their statistics show there will be a need for more than 1,300 power engineering jobs by 2027.
“This just expands our capacity to be able to meet that need and attract students to the Cariboo, the central part of the province here for that training,” he said. “CNC is one of the top five trades training facilities in the province, so it just helps to cement our position as a trades training institution of quality.”