Power engineering a partnership with Prairie South

Nathan Liewicki
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Division introduces several new PAA partners

Coronach has a hard time recruiting people to live in the town.

Dana Skoropad, partnership co-ordinator and career development consultant for the Prairie South School Division, addresses a group of people at the annual PSSD Partnerships Luncheon at Temple Gardens on Wednesday.

“It’s been a historical challenge,” said Howard Matthews.

That challenge, Matthews noted, is heightened at the Poplar River Power Station near Coronach, which he is the manager of.

The power station – like many locations in Saskatchewan – requires highly skilled individuals, including those with power engineering skills.

“We have a tremendous demand at the power plant for power engineers,” said Matthews. “They are very, very hard to come by and very hard to recruit.

“Not only are we looking for these power engineers, but the rest of the industry is looking for them.”

It’s estimated that over the next few years, Alberta and Saskatchewan will be looking for 30,000 to 35,000 power engineers to fulfill a variety of labour needs.

Matthews was at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa Resort on Wednesday to share in the partnership the power station – in association with SaskPower and the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK) – and the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) is entering into.

The partnership is one of seven new partnerships formed this year between PSSD and various provincial entities.

The division’s new partners, including SaskTel, the Saskatchewan Safety Council and the Ministry of Agriculture, were formally introduced following Wednesday’s Prairie South Partnerships Annual Luncheon.

The partnerships were developed through the Practical and Applied Arts Enhancement Project at PSSD, and are expected to have a direct effect on students in the division.

“We certainly know that our Prairie South partners … help to create fertile ground on which our students can blossom,” said Dana Skoropad, partnership co-ordinator and career development consultant for PSSD.

“Education is all about anticipation, nurturing, encouraging, fertilizing and helping young people reach their potential – and then some.”

SaskPower has donated a power engineer to work with one of the division’s teachers to develop two online course for students interested in the specialty trade: Introduction to Power Engineering 20 and 30.

They also provided PSSD with a curriculum for the approximately 26 students who have registered for the classes.

Students that complete both classes, including the 150 hours of instruction and 100 hours of steam time at Poplar River, would not only receive high school credits, but have the opportunity to challenge for the TSASK Level 5 Power Engineering Certificate.

“We realize level five power engineering isn't maybe the course that a lot of industry people are looking for – that's probably level four,” said Barbara Compton, superintendent of school operations for PSSD. “But at least this gives high school students an opportunity to taste it and see if they like it.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: SaskPower, Temple Gardens Mineral Resort, Saskatchewan Safety Council

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