What a great first half of 2023. I’ve had many interesting conversations since last checking-in with you.
One of the things that seems to come up more-and-more with the people I talk to – regardless of their role in the trenchless process – is that there is a lack of workers. So much so that the students in college are being snapped up before they even graduate. Lack of workers is mentioned in our cover story the annual roundtable discussion with sewer and water system owners.
It also came up during conversations for my story on horizontal directional drilling training. I had an opportunity to chat with Joshua Spray at Digital Control Inc. (DCI) and Jim Smith from Fleming College and heard about DCI’s donation to the Drilling Resources Program at Fleming College.
I wrote the story earlier this year but had an opportunity to visit Smith at Fleming College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay, Ontario, in March. Rob Krzys, Benjamin Media Inc.’s CEO, and I made the trek while in Ontario for the CUIIC Pipeline Rehabilitation Academy.
We got to see firsthand the equipment and classroom space for Fleming’s Resources Drilling Program, the only such program in Canada. While not solely focused on trenchless drilling techniques, the program does include a core section on HDD. It is for this section that DCI and Vermeer Canada both donated virtual teaching resources to the program. Rob and I even got to try the Aurora Vision VR system, as well as Vermeer’s drilling simulator.
Smith noted that program’s enrollment numbers have been down since COVID, but those who enter – and complete – the two-year degree program quickly find employment. Both in Canada and in the United States. I encourage people in the industry – especially those hands-on with HDD – to reach out to Smith and get involved with the program. This could be through donations of equipment or tools, going to speak to the class or perhaps mentoring.
Speaking of in-person events; it was great to be in Mississauga for the CUIIC Pipeline Rehabilitation Academy. This was the first in-person event organized by the Canadian Underground Infrastructure Innovation Centre (CUIIC) and I look forward to the next event on the CUIIC calendar – the CUIIC Safety Academy in Edmonton in November. For more information, visit academy.cuiic.ca. And if you missed the 2023 Pipeline Rehabilitation Academy, next year’s is heading to Richmond, British Columbia.
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Until next time,