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We Stand Ready.

Durham College
Susy Taylor, Durham College HEP Manager, and operator trainers Ross and Alex Bartolo pose for a photo in the pit with Nortrax Territory manager, Brandon Munro.

Laying the Groundwork for the Future
Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology

There’s a place in Whitby, Ontario, Canada where people are just lining up to spend time in The Pit. That place is Durham College of Applied Arts and Technology and “The Pit” is Pontypool Pit where students get a first-hand look and feel of what the construction industry is all about.

Durham College began the Heavy Equipment Operator program some three years ago after completing the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development standards. In completing the standards and working with the industry, the college identified the need for qualified training.

Courses are offered in the summer and fall and qualify for a second career program. The program spans an intensive four weeks to ensure the students are certification-ready to work as an operator with an emphasis on ramp building, stockpiling operations on a crawler dozer, as well as excavating and trenching, grading, shuttling, loading and backfill operations on a tractor loader, backhoe, and a tracked excavator. Students get a minimum of 120 hours of seat time and the ratio for student to equipment is 1 to 1. Class sizes are kept small for maximum learning potential with a maximum of eight students per intake.

From learning how to use effective onsite communications to applying the best equipment practices, the program covers all of the bases to ensure students stay safe on the job. In compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, students learn how to maintain personal protection gear, employ safe rigging practices, work near utilities safely, and critical fire safety measures.

From industry experts and licensed operators, students learn how to conduct pre-operational inspections, learn start-up and shut-down procedures, recognize equipment failure symptoms and indicators, and successfully perform routine equipment maintenance.

Nortrax provides the rental equipment to the college so they always have state-of-the-art machines. Currently, the college is renting two John Deere 130G excavators, a 450J crawler dozer, a 550K wheel loader, and a 310SL backhoe. Susy Taylor, Heavy Equipment Program Manager said Nortrax is a joy to work with because of their “cost effectiveness for training and great customer service.”

Here’s to the next generation of heavy-equipment operators and the instructors that are leading them to safe operation.

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