Calgary (June 26, 2015) “I am from a small city in China which has 10 million people. And only one building operator.”
These are the words spoken last night by Zi Lin, one of 19 graduates of the FIRST EVER Fast Tracked Building Operator/5th Class Power Engineer Training Program for New Canadians. These are the new faces of Calgary’s Building Operators who keep our downtown high rises, recreational facilities, shopping malls and other commercial buildings running. When your office is too hot or cold, it is your Building Operator that takes care of it.
The graduation celebration took place yesterday afternoon at the Calgary Petroleum Club. Approximately 100 guests were in attendance to hear from Zi and his fellow graduate Obi Ugo-Okeke, talk about the dream of immigrating to Canada and the challenges they faced once they landed in Calgary. Zi was a math teacher in China but was only able to find work as a computer repairman here, while Obi, a mechanical engineer, pumped gas in minus 27 degrees. When he got here he faced many questions, “how do I get a job, how do I get this Canadian experience, and most important, how do I deal with this weather!”
Zi and Obi competed with 393 applicants for one of the 19 seats available in this INAUGURAL and unique program. After 5 months of classroom theory, hands on training in SAIT’s power lab, and 6 weeks of work experience in Calgary’s downtown high rises, 100% of the trainees wrote and passed the provincial exam for power engineers, thereby becoming licensed 5th Class Power Engineers. This remarkable achievement is the result of the graduates’ hard work and an intensive collaboration between CCIS and the commercial real estate building operations industry. This industry is dealing with a severe shortage of qualified Building Operators. Bob Khan, Director of Operations, recognized the need in the industry and worked closely with his team and government funders to lay the groundwork for the program. Industry also reached out to CCIS in order to address this shortage. Many of Calgary’s major commercial real estate owners and management companies partnered with Bob and his team in the design and delivery of the program. As Artis REIT’s Manager of Employee Potential and Relations Morgan Johnson said about the decision to bring her company on board with the training program,“the CCIS approach to bringing together industry partners, the expertise of SAIT and a highly motivated group of newcomers sounded like a winning combination”.
And indeed, the program is proving to be a spectacular success, as at least 70% of the graduates are already either employed or considering job offers.
The graduates received congratulations from all levels of government including Mayor Naheed Nenshi who sent a video message. Written congratulations were received from the Honourable Lori Sigurdson, Government of Alberta’s Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour. The Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Member of the Queen’s Privy Council, Member of Parliament for Calgary East, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and for International Human Rights, was in attendance to speak to the graduates and deliver congratulations from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
CISS Oil and Gas and Power Engineer Training Programs (OGTP)
Further information on the CCIS OGTP is available on the OGTP website www.ogtp.ca or by contacting:
OGTP Media Contact Michele Veldhoen, Business Development 403-389 3656 firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Development & Delivery
Michele brings a wide range of experience and skills to the Team. A previous owner of a construction company, Michele has also worked in government as an elected official, and in the non-profit world as both a language instructor and a volunteer. This broad background gives her the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of our corporate and government partners, as well as our own organization. Michele is a resourceful, creative and accomplished relationship builder and facilitator who brings innovation and corporate excellence to her role of Business Development and Instructional Delivery.