Parkland Regional College is pleased to announce it is working with Lakeland College to offer the only full-time firefighting training program in Saskatchewan. “fire etc., an academic school of Lakeland College, is recognized as a leader in delivering quality firefighting instruction,” explains Fay Myers, CEO of Parkland Regional College.
Currently there are no pre-employment firefighter training programs offered in the province of Saskatchewan. Professional and volunteer firefighters upgrade their skills within local fire departments or by taking courses at the fire etc. training site in Vermilion, Alberta or at Emergency Services College in Brandon, Manitoba. The 12-week Fire Fighter (NFPA 1001) program will start in August and run in the community of Melville.
“Parkland Regional College has received full support from the City of Melville and their fire department, the Yorkton Fire Department, the Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association, and the Office of the Fire Commissioner for this venture,” says Larry Pearen, SIAST and Institute Programs Manager, who is coordinating the Fire Fighter program at Parkland Regional College. The training for this program will take place in Melville with the city agreeing to supply a training facility, a fire truck, access to some of their equipment and access to the old Melville hospital for rescue training and activities.
“fire etc. personnel have toured the Melville facilities and have indicated that most of the required training can be done in that location,” explains Pearen. Students will be required to go to Vermilion for two weeks to complete some of the practical training that requires highly specialized equipment. The Lakeland College training field includes multiple storey structural towers, a dangerous goods training area, and props that simulate industrial and residential fires, vehicle extrications and aircraft crash rescues.
Pearen stated that “Parkland Regional College is excited to work with fire etc. Their International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) accreditation and the support of the provincial Fire Commissioner’s Office will provide students with assurance that their credentials will be recognized by fire protection services throughout the province. This program will give students a competitive edge and be beneficial to those interested in seeking a position as a career firefighter in a municipal or industrial setting.”
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 1001 – Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications is widely endorsed by departments as a necessary credential for new hires. This program exceeds the requirement set out by the NFPA and includes more practice runs and other hands-on skill building.
This past week Parkland Regional College’s SIAST & Institute Programs area announced the selection of certificate and diploma programs they will be offering across the region in the 2008-2009 school year. The College offers a wide range of full-time and part-time programs in the areas of Business, Education, Health, Technology, and Trades.
Larry Pearen, Manager of SIAST & Institute Programs at Parkland Regional College explained the advantages to taking these technical skills programs locally at the College. “Although Parkland Regional College offers many of the same programs as SIAST for example, we do provide additional enhancements such as workplace components and a connection to the job market, which helps to increase employment opportunities for students once they have completed the program.” Currently, 90% of SIAST graduates find employment within 6 months of completing a program. Pearen also mentioned the smaller class sizes at Parkland, which allow for more interaction with instructors and therefore provide an easier transition into post-secondary studies.
The technical skills training options made available come from Parkland Regional College’s effort to work closely with employers to help ensure that training leads to employment and skill shortages in the Parkland region are met. “Many of the programs being offered in 2008-2009 have been run in past years with great success”, explains Pearen, but they have also added new opportunities to the list.
“The SIAST Power Engineering Technician program is one of the new additions and provides students with practical training in boiler operations, maintenance techniques, and tool usage”. The students will study Fourth Class inter-provincial standardized material as preparation to challenge the inter-provincial Fourth Class examinations and will also acquire boiler firing time in a power lab and by participating in industry work experiences.
Pearen did state that the list of programs for 2008-2009 is not complete. “We will be introducing part-time course opportunities throughout the year, which have worked well for students interested in furthering their training or upgrading skills while also working full time, as well we are looking at opportunities for additional full-time programming.”
Local students pursuing post-secondary education will soon have more money to put in their pockets thanks to a large increase in entrance scholarships at Parkland Regional College. On February 4th, Parkland Regional College released the entrance scholarship opportunities to the community and were happy to announce that $28,000 will be awarded to students planning on enrolling in Parkland Regional College University or SIAST programs in the upcoming 2008-2009 school year.
The scholarship initiative has been made possible through funding from the Saskatchewan Advanced Education and Employment Centennial Merit Scholarship Program, generous donations from local businesses and organizations, Dollars for Scholars golf tournament donors, and contributions from Parkland Regional College staff and Board of Directors.
Contributions to the Parkland Regional College Scholarship Initiative fund can be considered as investments into the future of the Parkland Region. Contributions to scholarships have helped Parkland Regional College maintain the ability to contribute to the education and training of residents of the Parkland area. Scholarship committee chairperson Gwen Machnee commented on the increased benefit to studying locally. “In response to the Centennial Merit Program goal to retain Saskatchewan’s High Academic Achievers, Parkland Regional College and their partners have worked to provide students who stay in the region and study locally with additional opportunities to save money.”
The donors have made it possible for Parkland Regional College to offer a total of $65,400 in scholarships this year. The $28,000 in entrance scholarships is in addition to the $37,400 announced in December, which will be awarded this spring to students currently enrolled in Adult Basic Education, SIAST, and University programs at Parkland Regional College.
Students interested in learning more about the scholarship opportunities are encouraged to stop by one of the five campuses in Canora, Esterhazy, Fort Qu’Appelle, Melville or Yorkton and pick up a scholarship booklet.