Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Image Credit: Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Saskatchewan Polytechnic electrician training is charged up

Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s electrician training program is evolving and innovating. Just as many of us have moved on from analog watches with slowly rotating hands, to watches with digital displays, to smart watches that count your daily steps and call your friends, Sask Polytech’s electrician training program has gone digital.    

“The Electrician applied certificate program and Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) Construction Electrician apprenticeship training are some the most innovative programs being delivered in Sask Polytech’s Joseph A. Remai School of Construction,” says Lance Giesbrecht, academic chair for the Joseph A. Remai School of Construction. “These programs have embraced new technology to train learners and apprentices. It’s incredible what the new state-of-the-art equipment and technology can do. Moving from analog to digital training equipment has made all the difference.”

Over the past decade Sask Polytech has been transitioning its electrician training equipment to Lab-Volt technology. Lab-Volt meets the highest training standards available in modular technology education. This equipment provides hands-on, system-level, electrical training that includes everything from installing residential electrical equipment to home energy production from renewable resources.

“Safety is a big benefit of using Lab-Volt technology,” says Gregory Bell, program head, Construction Electrician. “Before we started using digital technology, we used plug-and play-equipment and were training learners and apprentices with motors and manual meters. The manual equipment had spinning shafts, moving parts and exposed components. It was a safety hazard. We had to ensure everyone was wearing appropriate clothing and had their hair tied up.”

“Previously learners were reading a needle on a tachometer, amp meter, voltmeter or watt meter,” says Jay Vollet, program head, Construction Electrician. “Now everything is digital, more accurate and more precise. The Lab-Volt equipment allows learners to read results on a digital screen. It’s similar to what learners will experience in a work environment.”

Lab-Volt allows learners to explore and practice the skills needed to work with electricity in a safe environment. Once learners are familiar with the theory portion of an area, they have the opportunity to design innovative solutions to real-world problems. Throughout their training learners can practice designing electric circuits required to solve electrical problems typically found in both residential homes and commercial industry.

“It’s a great tool for visual learners. The equipment is compact and user-friendly. Learners can complete labs in the classroom or remotely on zoom,” says Bell. “With Lab-Volt, it’s endless what modules Sask Polytech can purchase to ensure learners are ready to work after their training. For example, instructors can purchase modules to teach theory and provide practical training on renewable energy such as solar panels or wind turbines without Sask Polytech having to invest in expensive renewable technology.”

Sask Polytech’s training currently focuses on residential and commercial electrical theory, but as renewable energy builds momentum, new Lab-Volt modules will be added to train leaners on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

“Sask Polytech is always working to meet the needs of our partners, industry, government and learners,” says Giesbrecht. “We want our electrician training to be on the cutting edge of training innovation in Saskatchewan.”

Electricians in Saskatchewan are in demand. Sask Polytech offers an Electrician applied certificate and training for SATCC Construction Electrician apprentices.

“The SATCC is pleased with the innovative technical training taking place at Saskatchewan Polytechnic for Construction Electrician apprentices,” says Jeff Ritter, CEO, SATCC. “Saskatchewan Polytechnic is our largest training provider and we work together to ensure apprenticeship training continually evolves to satisfy industry demand for a skilled and certified workforce.”

Curriculum for Construction Electrician apprentices is created by the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC). The SATCC oversees and administers the apprenticeship system in Saskatchewan. The organization trains apprentices; certifies tradespeople and apprentices; regulates the apprenticeship system; and promotes apprenticeship. Institutions such as Saskatchewan Polytechnic are contracted by the SATCC to provide apprenticeship training across the province.

Learn more about the School of Construction at saskpolytech.ca/construction.

This article was originally published by We Build, Saskatchewan’s Construction Magazine. The Saskatchewan Construction Assocoation provides collaborative and trusted leadership that sustains a prosperous construction industry and a better quality of life for the people of Saskatchewan.

Published March 2022.