Brandon, MB - Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris, was one of the first to get a hands-on demonstration of new heavy-equipment simulators at Assiniboine Community College (ACC) on Thursday morning.
"Training on these simulators will allow students to be ready for the demands of the workforce and our growing economy," Maguire said. "Our Government's investment allows Assiniboine Community College to take this training throughout our region and especially to the rural communities that can benefit the most."
The new mobile simulation lab was funded with $142,670 through the Western Diversification Program and will help meet the growing demand in the energy and construction sectors. Students will have an opportunity to learn on sophisticated machinery, which will leave them well-equipped to meet the demands of industry.
The first class on the new simulators starts June 22. It will include 120 hours of classroom instruction to cover the fundamentals of heavy equipment operation and servicing, site surveying and grades, and worksite and personal safety. Students will then get a minimum of 80 hours simulation time, training on excavators, bulldozers, wheeled loaders, heavy trucks and forklifts. They'll finish their instruction with 20 hours in in-seat training on an actual piece of heavy equipment. The initial course will focus on excavator, based on industry demand.
Students who then complete a 140-hour employer practicum will graduate with a Certificate of Achievement from ACC, recognized by employers.
"These simulators help us build on our relationships with industry and respond to the needs of local employers," said ACC President Mark Frison. "Because they are completely mobile and adaptable, we can be nimble in providing the specific training that each community requires."
Provided by Montreal-based Simlog, the 20 simulators at give students a chance to learn how to operate heavy equipment in a safe, completely controlled environment.
Each simulator consists of high-end computer hardware and a large screen, upon which a full 3D worksite is generated. Controls are customized for each piece of equipment, with pedals, joysticks and hydraulic levers positioned where they would be in a real-world setting.
As in a video game, students are guided through a series of increasingly difficult challenges as they learn to master the basic controls of the equipment, progressing through levels as they prove able to handle each challenge. Instructors are able to view student simulations from any angle, can replay portions of the simulation that are difficult for any student, and can see any errors or restarts made by each student.
Research by Simlog shows that use of simulators can cut down on injuries, accidents and wear-and-tear during training, as well as providing employers with better overall training, since students master all of the fundamentals before tackling real work.
Maguire concluded, "I will continue to work hard and get results for Westman. I will always stand up for the many unique challenges facing our region and be a strong voice for our communities in Ottawa."