New Malaspina program aims to address skill shortage

February 15, 2007 - 4:00pm

Looking for well-paid work and love large machinery? Then the new Heavy Equipment Operator Technician Pilot program at Malaspina University-College could be for you.

The apprenticeship program, which was developed by BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association and endorsed by the Industry Training Authority, aims to ease the need for qualified people to operate heavy equipment that’s used to build much-needed infrastructure, like roads.

“It’s a job that takes a great deal of hand-eye coordination and practice,” said Dan Lines, Associate Dean of Trades and Applied Technology. “And there’s a shortage of people who can operate heavy equipment in the construction industry.”

According to the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, BC will be experiencing a shortage of 5,340 heavy equipment operators over the next 10 years, translating into 534 potential job openings a year. There is already a severe shortage of grader, excavator, loader, dozer and heavy articulate rock truck operators in the province.

The five-week program starts March 26 and leads into Malaspina’s existing Heavy Equipment Operator program for an Industry Training Authority certification. During the program, students learn the theory and practical skills required for entrance into operating equipment used in road building and heavy construction industries in BC. Students will learn in a classroom, lab and field environment, including 12 hours of machine operation. Space is limited to 16 students per intake. Following the March 26 intake, Malaspina will begin offering it twice a year starting in the fall of 2007.

Malaspina will also be offering a Road Builder and Heavy Construction Foundation program this fall. The four-week program provides students with an introduction to road building and the heavy construction industry. Courses include an overview of road building and heavy construction career opportunities, an orientation to job site operations, equipment, tools, operations and maintenance, as well as providing a fundamental introduction to civil engineering.  It also leads into an Industry Training Authority certification and is supported by the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association.

For more information about either programs, please contact Joyce Peeke-Vout at 740-6227, or email her at There is also information online at


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