Graduates from the AltaGas Operator Training Program stand outside Coast Mountain College alongside their instructor Leo Rutherford. Having completed the program, the graduates will have an opportunity to apply for an entry level position at the Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal once its construction is complete. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Graduates from the AltaGas Operator Training Program stand outside Coast Mountain College alongside their instructor Leo Rutherford. Having completed the program, the graduates will have an opportunity to apply for an entry level position at the Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal once its construction is complete. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

AltaGas operator program celebrates graduating class

Eleven students completed the 6-month program at Coast Mountain College

As the AltaGas propane facility nears completion on Ridley Island, members of the community are getting ready to report for work.

After months of study, the AltaGas Operator Training Program celebrated the graduation of its first class in front of family, friends and instructors on Dec. 20 at Coast Mountain College.

READ MORE: AltaGas hires mostly local for construction of its propane terminal

“When you enter into a program like this you don’t know what the outcome is going to be,” said Kelly Swain, director of workforce training at Coast Mountain College. “And to see these students come out on the other end is something you should be proud of.”

The occasion marked the end of a six-month pilot program designed to qualify First Nations and non-Indigenous residents with the skills necessary to apply for eight entry-level positions that will be available at the new Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal once it’s completed early 2019.

It is the first time a propane facility has collaborated with a educational institution to provide a training program for local residents to work at its own facility.

“It’s going to give me the prospect of giving me a job in the same town where I live and the ability to work close to home rather than leaving the province for work in the relevant field,” said Christopher Vogt, one of the 11 graduates. He’s said he’s pleased he can work in the community he wants to be in and help the community grow.

AltaGas held recruitment sessions and began to accept applications for the new program at the beginning of the 2018. Fourteen individuals were originally selected to take part in the course that included gas processes training, an online program from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, a safety certificate course from the Metlakatla Coastal Training Centre and other essential skills training.

The students also had an opportunity to visit an AltaGas facility to see how their classroom knowledge would be applied in the field.

Dan Woznow, senior vice president and general manager of energy exports with Alta Gas, said providing local training was one of the AltaGas’s key commitments as it was planning the propane export facility.

“The leadership and support of our community partner, paired with the dedication and hard work of the students, have combined to make the AltaGas Operator Training Program a great success,” Woznow said.

The Ridley Island facility is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2019 with operations expected to begin late in the spring.


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