Canada’s largest farm equipment dealer association says it hopes to help increase the number of properly trained ag equipment technicians through what it says is its biggest donation ever to a partner college.
The Canada West Equipment Dealers Association said Friday it has approved a $300,000 contribution to Assiniboine Community College (ACC), based at Brandon, Man.
The contribution “enhances and expands upon an existing partnership” with ACC, which CWEDA said is “designed to address the No. 1 issue
within dealerships, which is the shortage of properly trained technicians.”
“ACC has been recognized across Canada as a leading provider of training and their commitment to the equipment dealer industry cannot be overstated,” said CWEDA president Gail Halderman, a New Holland dealer from Medicine Hat, Alta.
CWEDA said its board for years has identified the “training needs of members and skill shortages” as a priority, and set up a fundraising arm, the Canada Equipment Dealers Foundation, to provide scholarships to “current and prospective employees,” as well as “industry-specific” training to members.
The foundation also works with post-secondary educational institutions on joint initiatives.
ACC’s agricultural equipment technician apprenticeship, its John Deere TECH and heavy duty equipment technician programs, and its new ag shop at the Len Evans Centre of Trades and Technology, will be the beneficiaries from the equipment dealers’ funding and partnership, CWEDA said.
The Len Evans Centre, the construction of which is also a specific beneficiary in ACC’s “Campaign Assiniboine,” is meant to expand total program working space to 135,000 square feet, which the college said will “significantly increase the total number of skilled trades students being trained at ACC, from 480 to just under 1,300.”
The new facility, announced last July for the former site of the Brandon Mental Health Centre, is also expected to host new programs such as truck transport and residential refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, bring in 25 new instructors and provide updated machine shops, labs, computer rooms and “smart” classrooms.