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Courtesy of a six-month Okanagan College training program in a field few people think much about, Clint Price has a full-time construction career.
Price finished his Residential Insulator program recently after 15 weeks in the classroom learning theory and safety related to insulation and then an additional 10 weeks in work placements with local employers.
The booming insulation industry, coupled with consumer interest in reducing environmental impact, has created a significant need for skilled workers. Okanagan College, in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Work BC, and local industry leaders, has brought a new program on board to help meet industry demand and prepare skilled workers.
The 25-week Residential Insulator program provides tuition-free specialized training for eligible applicants with funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. The program develops practical skills and provides safety certifications in the first 15 weeks of classroom instruction. The remaining 10 weeks are spent in work placements with local employers providing valuable work-related experience.
The Okanagan construction industry is thriving and evolving, inspiring local developers to push the envelope and build more sustainable spaces. Insulation plays a big, and often overlooked, part in creating energy efficient buildings.
The OC training program proved beneficial for Price, a graduate of the first intake of the Residential Insulator program. “The classroom training allowed me to gain the skills required to commence work in the industry and be a valuable member of an insulation team. My 10 weeks of work placement with Grayhawk Industries has allowed me to apply that knowledge with onsite training and has given me the necessary tools to succeed in my new career path,” says Price. “I am now employed full time in the industry and could not be more grateful for the opportunity to have been involved with this program.”
“The Residential Insulator program was created in response to the local labour market challenges,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “Okanagan College, in conjunction with the Ministry, and with support from local industry, is responding to this need by providing skilled training opportunities through the newly developed Residential Insulator program.”
“With changing building codes, it is important to provide skilled training within the insulation industry to equip these workers with a firm grasp of building science knowledge and the variety of different materials available to them,” says Luke Egely, Residential Insulator program instructor.
“Developing this pilot program has been a joint effort on many fronts,” says Egely. We’ve created a program that covers a broad range of topics to build the knowledge these students need.”
Price, along with other graduates of the first intake of the course, have recently completed their work placements. The training has resulted in several offers of full-time employment.
“This group of students have excelled with their training and are driven to create new careers for themselves,” says Egely. “They are just beginning to see the opportunities this training could open up to them.”
The program has been well-received locally and has received government funding for a second intake, beginning Nov. 26. Egely has also fielded calls from others interested in this type of training from all across Canada and the U.S.
The Residential Insulator program was developed through extensive consultation with local employers, consultants and
suppliers in British Columbia and Alberta. Training takes place at the Okanagan College Trades training facility in Vernon. Find out more at okanagan.bc.ca/insulationinstaller.