Registration opens for NAIT crane operators program
After days of waiting, some of the students wanting to take a crane operator apprenticeship program at NAIT were able to sign up Friday.
Would-be crane operators have been lining up in the hallways of NAIT since Monday in the hopes of securing a spot in the popular program, which has only 180 spots.
Dave Pepler, who drove in from Calgary to line up, is one of the lucky ones.
"Thankful, glad I spent the five days here to get a spot."
But many other hopefuls were not so lucky.
However, NAIT’s dean of trades said the available class spaces do not meet the needs of a growing province.
"It's not the kind of thing you can just ramp up,” said Malcolm Haines, adding he’d like to see big changes to the program’s capacity right away.
"We've already added 72 seats to the program, demand is higher so that's again why were working to see what other solutions we can come up with."
Haines said other options would include more distance education or using a simulation program to replace some of the time spent in actual cranes, which each cost about one million dollars.
He added it is not only about producing trained operators – some graduates from the program will also be hired on as instructors to help the new generation of students.
At current graduation rates, he is worried there won’t be enough instructors to keep up with increasing demand.
NAIT and the two other Alberta colleges that offer the crane program are now working with the province to try to find ways to meet enrolment demands.