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Investment in Alberta school to help boost technician grads

EDMONTON -- While many industries clamor to recruit fresh faces, Finning and Caterpillar are investing in the future of a program with proven success.

Finning and Cat are building on their relationship with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) with $3 million of funding for the school’s Heavy Equipment programs.

NAIT has been steadily ramping up capacity in its Heavy Equipment Technician program. NAIT plans to train more than 1,500 HET apprentices this year, a 107 percent increase from 2004/05, notes Dr. Sam Shaw, NAIT’s president and CEO.

“Partnerships like this help to offset Alberta’s skills shortage in a program area that is experiencing increasing demands for highly skilled graduates,” adds Shaw. “Not only skilled graduates, but graduates with new skills.”

NAIT president and CEO Dr. Sam Shaw, Will Ball, Cat’s
social responsibility initiatives manager, and Finning (Canada) president
Dave Parker, have three million reasons to smile.

Overall, more apprentices are trained at NAIT than any other institute in Canada, including 50 percent of tradesman in Alberta and 17 percent nationally. The tech school is driven by a 10-year Workforce Development Plan to address the skills shortage.

Finning is donating $1 million to enhance NAIT’s Heavy Equipment Technician (HET) and Industrial Heavy Equipment Technology program, along with $1 million worth of equipment, while Caterpillar is stepping forward with $1 million in cash.

NAIT’s relationship with Finning and Caterpillar started in 2003 with the launch of ThinkBIG. The program trains qualified apprentices specifically for the Caterpillar Dealer Service Technician Program. While that program turns out 24 students a year, the demand for skilled workers is much higher.

Finning is projecting the need for hundreds of heavy equipment technologists and apprentices in the next five years.

Finning (Canada) is a division of Finning International – headquartered in Vancouver – the world’s largest Caterpillar equipment dealer. Finning sells, rents and provides customer support services for Cat equipment and engines in western Canada, the U.K., and South America.


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