One of the in-demand jobs now and into the future is plant operator. Selkirk College is offering an additional intake for the 24-week Sliver King-based program starting on August 4.
This 24-week program (18 weeks on-campus + 6 week practicum) prepares you for entry level positions as a plant operator. You'll gain knowledge and develop the skills required to operate, monitor and troubleshoot control equipment and processing units found in most industrial settings. You'll learn about industrial plant functionality and gain a critical understanding of plant systems, process fundamentals, and plant operations.
Training Facility Provides Unique Advantage
You'll engage in a variety of classroom, shop and real-world activities. Learn the theoretical principles of operations and processes in the classroom, and apply your knowledge in our shop where you'll gain valuable experience by practicing various operational procedures.
During the 18 weeks of instructional time, you'll travel to 10 plant operations of various sizes throughout the West Kootenay including Nelson Hydro, Teck, Zellstoff Celgar, Columbia Brewery, Selkirk College, Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (Trail) and the Nelson & District Community Complex. The goal is by the end of the tours, you will have a detailed record of the plants you have visited and a broad awareness of the operator duties and tasks at the various plants in our area.
Great Partnerships with Regional Industry
The Plant Operator Program has two intakes each year—one in October and one in March—that suit the hiring cycles of Teck Resources in Trail and Zellstoff Celgar in Castlegar. The provincial government has bolstered funding in areas of trades that are anticipated to be in-demand over the coming years. Plant operators are considered one of those areas, so a third intake has been added and starts this August. This intake will focus more on hospitals, school districts, municipalities, sawmills, recreational facilities and other large plant operations. In this round there will be potential practicums across the Kootenay.
Upon completion of the on-campus component of the program, you'll embark on a practicum hosted by regional employers where you'll master operations in real industrial environments.
What is a Plant Operator?
Plant operators are responsible for overseeing the production process of a plant facility. The goal of a process operator is to monitor equipment and improve the quality, efficiency and safety of the plant.
Plant operators supervise staff members and coordinate maintenance efforts to ensure control instruments are working properly. They also perform other administrative tasks such as recording test results and other data about the plant's operation. In addition, process operators are responsible for reporting problems with the production process or equipment to shift managers and maintenance engineers. In some cases, project managers may need to carry out minor maintenance work and transport various items for shipment.
A person does not need any particular qualifications to become a plant operator. However, they do need to have an understanding of math and be able to pass an aptitude test, physical and medical exam at the interview stage. A person can also become a Plant operator by completing an apprenticeship or taking a college course related to the skills and knowledge needed in the job. Plant operators "usually work full-time, sometimes shift-work, often with benefits, for companies involved in the petroleum, agricultural and pharmaceutical industry."