Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute: Building capacity for industry training in the southeast

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The Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute under construction.

With the recent oil boom, southeast Saskatchewan is the epicentre for the drilling and service sector of the oil and gas industry. There are a number of large petroleum-based producers that maintain the operation of producing oil and gas wells. Coal mining, coal energy and power generation are all centred in Southeast Saskatchewan. The Southeast region is also known and globally recognized for CO2 injection, new technologies in fracture stimulation, and the Bakken formation.

With great anticipation, Southeast Regional College recently opened its new Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute facility in Estevan’s Glen Peterson Industrial Park. This state-of-the-art campus will provide the capacity to deliver specialized training and skill development to meet the labour needs of the various energy sectors and ensure the economic growth of the industry, region and province.

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Front entrance of the SETI, located at 523 Bourquin Road in Estevan, Sask.

With 11 classrooms, three training labs, a computer resource room, a testing room, and a 250-seat lecture theatre, the 44,000-square-foot building offers the flexibility necessary to deliver a wide range of training. Trades programs like the pre-employment Electrician Certificate require both classroom and lab resources on a regular basis. As such, SETI’s two smaller 2,416-square-foot labs provide the shop space for the hands-on practical training, with adjoining classrooms for theory discussion. Computer labs and dedicated classrooms are also available for full-time academic programs such as Power Engineering Technician, Office Education, and others designed for career advancement in the energy sector.

Increased capacity also accommodates the added need for specialized industry-related safety training courses during peak training times. For the oil and gas industry, this occurs in the spring with last year’s enrolments pushing 1,800 during the months of March and April. The increased classroom space is a welcome advantage to meet the student numbers that are expected to increase in conjunction with the surge of oil and gas activity in the Bakken area. Furthermore the large three-storey, 4,882-square-foot training lab can accommodate SETI’s mobile Fall Arrest and Confined Space simulators, thus providing the comfort of training indoors.

SETI’s confined space simulator in the large training lab. Photo credit: David Willberg, Estevan Lifestyles.

SETI’s confined space simulator in the large training lab. Photo credit: David Willberg, Estevan Lifestyles.

The building also showcases a large circular 250-seat lecture theatre with floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors that can open into the expansive lounge. Two 70-inch plasma screens accompany a 20-foot-wide projection screen and sound system that can accommodate large groups, industry-related events, or community events.

Although SETI programming has always been highly recognized and valued, employers are very enthusiastic about the benefits of having a new facility. With a local training option, employees can avoid the time, expense and safety hazards associated with travelling out-of-province for specialized courses. Furthermore, SETI’s commitment to flexible and innovative programming will provide a highly educated workforce to advance technologies within the various energy sectors and meet the labour demands within the economy.

The SETI project broke ground in November 2009 with funding from Canada’s Economic Action Plan and the Federal Knowledge Infrastructure Plan. With this new facility and over twenty years of experience in industry training, Southeast Regional College and the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute are positioned to attract and serve a variety of learners. It truly is an exciting time for energy training and education in Southeast Saskatchewan!

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Power Engineering classroom. Photo credit: Chad Saxon, Estevan Mercury.

The Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute is located at 532 Bourquin Road in Estevan. Additional information can be found at www.southeastcollege.org/programs/seti.

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