“The NLC tower is a great tool for training,” said Shawn Trottier, Site Manager for Vestas Wind. “It offers some real benefit, and allows the focus to be on the training, without the added distractions of being in an energized turbine.”
Trottier also noted it is much quieter, allowing for better communication.
“The tower is close enough to the real thing that the training is 100 per cent transferable,” he added. “It is an ideal classroom environment, as you can practice the same techniques we would use up-tower, but in a quieter environment, and closer to the ground and easier to get to.
“More importantly, working in that environment for such a class as opposed to up one of our own towers, we don't have to shut down a producing turbine and impact our customer's production.”
Trottier looks after the wind turbine parks in Tumbler Ridge and Moberly Lake. He currently has eight NLC graduates employed from the Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician program, and says he expects to continue recruiting from future classes.
“Each year, a few of my technicians visit the classes to discuss the industry with the students,” said Trottier.
Overall, Trottier was thankful for the training opportunity on the Dawson Creek Campus.
“I would like to borrow the tower and utilize it as the site for re-fresher training for a high-angle rescue course we have, for my employees and our prime contractor, Kikinaw Energy Services, which is another heavy recruiter of NLC students.”
Graham McDougall, a Wind Energy Manager with Kikinaw Energy Services Ltd.is also enthusiastic about the College’s training tower potential.
“Previous to having access to the NLC training tower, Kikinaw Energy Services Ltd has had to send employees as far as Ontario to receive Wind Turbine specific rescue training. With the cooperation of the Dawson Creek campus we are now able to train new employees and conduct recertification’s rite in the heart of the B.C North Peace Region,” said McDougall.
“The simulation tower allows us to practice actual working at heights and rescue scenarios without interrupting production for our customers and in a controlled environment. There are several new wind farms in development for the North Peace over the next couple of years and is great to work with the College,” he said. “Kikinaw will be able to source and train wind turbine technicians locally. This is the closest that you can get to training in an operational wind turbine. We sincerely thank Northern Lights College and Vestas “the customer” for the ongoing support.”