Students in the Selkirk College Plant Operator Program began a survey of regional operations by taking a closer look at Oso Negro’s roastery in Nelson.
The 24-week program based out of the Silver King Campus provides students the knowledge and skills required to operate, monitor and troubleshoot control equipment/processing units found in most industrial settings.
Selkirk College students in the Plant Operator Program had the opportunity to learn about what takes place at the Oso Negro roastery with the help of Mike Tremblay.
Just beginning their educational journey, the 14 students took the classroom on the road to the historic Kootenay Warehousing & Brewery Building where Oso Negro Fine Coffees roasts its delicious beans.
“The Oso Negro operation is a perfect way to start our series of tours,” says Plant Operator Program Instructor Cory Drew. “It’s a relatively small plant, but the processes are an important illustration of what we have been learning in class over the last couple weeks.”
Oso Negro roaster Mike Tremblay provided the class with insight into the daily routine at the Latimer Street operation that has become a staple of the Nelson economy since it opened in 1993. Oso Negro is one of the region’s most well-known local coffee companies and also exports its blends well beyond the borders of the West Kootenay.
“It’s a fun tour and something most of the students can easily relate to… coffee,” says Drew.
Training Tomorrow's Skilled Employees
Plant operators are in-demand at a number of different industrial operations around the region and beyond. The Selkirk College Plant Operator Program includes 18 weeks of classroom, shop and real-world activities which is followed by a six-week practicum.
Selkirk College Plant Operator Program student Mark Lawder takes notes during a recent tour of the Oso Negro roastery operation on Nelson’s Latimer Street.
Over the coming months, the class will visit Nelson Hydro, Zellstoff Celgar, Teck, the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, the Nelson & District Community Complex and other locations to take a closer look at those operations.
“This program doesn’t happen without the kind support of our business and industry partners,” says Drew. “For both the tours and the practicum placements, we are very appreciative of the investment these companies put into helping us train the future workforce.”
The next intake for the Plant Operator Program is April, 2017.