STEPHENVILLE CROSSING Mark Gallop would recommend videoconference training in all types of apprenticeship programs after just completing a block of his training that way.
© Aurora photos by Ty Dunham
Instructor Greg Ryan teaching a class via teleconference link.
The Labrador City man, who works for the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), said as a young family man with a wife and three children, training at home was ideal.
Gallop was one of a class of 11 students doing a block of Heavy Duty Equipment Technician training through College of the North Atlantic - five of them in the classroom in Stephenville Crossing and the other six in a college classroom in Labrador City — who were all able to do the same course at the same time.
All were taught by instructor Greg Ryan, who was in the classroom in Stephenville Crossing with the students in Labrador being taught simultaneously in real time via a smart board.
“It was just as good as being there in the actual classroom,” Gallop said of the training. “I’ve been putting this off too long and I hope they (Department of Advanced Education and Skills) keep it going so that I can do more blocks and complete my training to get my interprovincial ticket.”
The two-month project ran from the end of October until Christmas for the theory portion. During that time, the students in Stephenville Crossing carried out their practical training locally.
The students in Labrador City were working 20 hours a week with IOC while doing their theory, then after Christmas their instructor went to Labrador City for them to get their practical training completed.
The Labrador apprentices wrote their exams on Friday.
“I just finished my exam and I’m feeling good about it,” Gallop said in a morning interview from Labrador Friday morning.
He went to Lewisporte in the past to do his first block of training and said he found it really rough. Now he has four more blocks to complete and is keeping his fingers the videoconference training will continue to be offered.
“I put this training off for a long time and I’m glad to now be back at it. This type of training is perfect, if I had 10 blocks I’d do it this way,” Gallop said.
He added that with his wife now doing shift work it would be impossible for him to go away and do the training, because they just wouldn’t be able to find a babysitter. He said going out of town is no longer an option for him.
The 27-year-old worker said he enjoys his job and is now looking forward to going back to shift work, punching 84 hours during a two-week period.
Gallop had high praise for his instructor, who he said wanted this videoconference training to happen.
Ryan said there are three major winners in this type of training in that the apprentices don’t have to leave home, the apprentice can still work 20 hours a week while doing the training, and government saves too since it normally pays travel and accommodations for the apprentices to attend the course.
He said future courses could be improved by shortening the three weeks of practical training by doing some of that through videoconferencing.