Life

High Velocity invites public to play in the dirt

By Amielle Christopherson, Camrose Canadian

CEO of High Velocity Equipment Training College Shayne Bonnoualt and operations manager Kevin Burton hosted a grand opening at their site Aug. 8 and offered the attendees the chance to test out machines such as front end loaders and excavators. Amielle Christopherson/Camrose Canadian/Postmedia Network

CEO of High Velocity Equipment Training College Shayne Bonnoualt and operations manager Kevin Burton hosted a grand opening at their site Aug. 8 and offered the attendees the chance to test out machines such as front end loaders and excavators. Amielle Christopherson/Camrose Canadian/Postmedia Network

Camrose and area residents were given the opportunity to play in the dirt with life size versions of their favourite childhood sandbox toys during the High Velocity Equipment Training College’s open house held Aug. 7 and 8.

The college offers courses ranging in length from three to 12 weeks, depending on which vehicles students are interested in learning on and if they decide to learn more than one piece of equipment.

Courses offered include front end loader, bulldozer, rock truck, excavator and grader training on the school’s 13 pieces of equipment, which they officially owned as of Aug. 7.

Having been in operation for seven years, operations manager Kevin Burton said, “It’s been a seven years of, I wouldn’t say struggle, but a long time to get where we’re at. You go from one or two pieces of equipment to 13 pieces, that’s huge for us.

“That’s why we have an open house like this. It gets people to come out and we can put people on the equipment,” explained Burton about the two day open house the school hosted.

He added that people tend to be surprised at how little time it takes to learn the basics of operating the heavy machinery, with many people able to move, dig and dump within the first 10 minutes of sitting down.

“Some guy will be learning on an excavator, another guy will be on the rock truck, and at the end of it we make sure they all have work. Our employment rate is 97.8 per cent this year,” said High Velocity CEO Shayne Bonnough, adding that the average salary for someone working with heavy machinery is $77,000. The school employs someone who instructs students on how to craft a resume and how to handle themselves in interviews, as well as researching job openings they can apply for.

While many have fears about what the job situation in the province will look like with an unstable oil industry, Burton said those interested in heavy machinery training won’t be affected, with over 100 trained workers needed to help with the ringroad around Edmonton.

“We found that in 2009, when we thought everything was going to slow down, that the government just poured everything into infrastructure,” added Bonnough. “Everybody’s been concentrating on the oil, let’s build up our roads now that the oil’s slow. And everybody’s still getting hired.”

As for people who take the course, Burton said students range from recent graduates to doctors and lawyers who “want a change in life, who don’t want the stresses. This is not a stressful job.”

The number of women taking the course has also risen over the years, with Bonnough estimating that anywhere between 20 to 30 per cent of the students at any given time are women.

“It’s going up all the time. They’re starting to hire a lot more women,” he said.

Heavy equipment training is not just restricted to Canada, with the school receiving requests to extend their training and teach courses across the globe, including offers from China and India.

This year will also see the school’s training ground move from its current home on RR 201, near Edburg, where it’s been for the last seven years, into Camrose limits in the east end of the city in September.

Burton said the change in location will put the training grounds closer to the school’s offices on 50 St. and require less driving time for students, which in turn will give them more time to practice on the equipment.

The school will also be venturing into new territory with their new Heavy Metal Rocks Earth Moving Experience, which will give those interested an opportunity to spend time on the machinery during the weekends.

For more information on courses offered by High Velocity or their new weekend offerings, phone 780-678-6288 or take a look at their website at www.heavymetaltraining.com.


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