As Alberta’s economy experiences rapid growth and diversification, some industries and job creators are facing a labour shortage in high-demand fields. To fill gaps in the workforce and create opportunities in rewarding careers, Alberta’s government is pursuing more channels to train students entering the skilled trades.

Under a new pilot program, Alberta’s government will provide $350,000 in funding to support the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 955 Trust Fund to deliver training for the Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator – Mobile Crane Operator apprenticeship program. The pilot program will take place at its training facility just north of Edmonton in Thorhild County and will support Albertans pursuing apprenticeship education for the Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator.

“Apprenticeship education is an affordable and rewarding post-secondary option for learners. As demand for skilled tradespeople continues to grow, I am committed to ensuring that we have the workers we need to reach our potential and build our province’s economic future. That is why Alberta is collaborating with a private sector union to provide hands-on training in apprenticeship education. This is a historic moment for skilled trades training in Alberta.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education

“The Alberta Crane Owners Association (ACOA) is proud to support this funding from Alberta’s government for a pilot project providing greater access to apprenticeship training. As a major employer of operating engineer apprentices within the province, ACOA members will benefit greatly from this investment.”

Bob Picken, president, Alberta Crane Owners Association

“Union training centres like Budd Coutts Apprenticeship and Education Centre provide high-quality skills training that support our economy and meet the needs of industry. I feel incredibly proud IUOE Local 955 was the first union in Alberta’s history to receive funding like this and we look forward to continuing our work training the next generation of skilled crane and hoist professionals.”

Chris Flett, business manager, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 955

The IUOE facility has offered a variety of training courses to thousands of workers to date and placed them directly with client employers. The pilot funding, combined with the IUOE’s facility and on-site equipment, will add up to 40 training spaces for Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operators in the province.

Quick facts

  • The Operating Engineers Local 955 Training Trust Fund will offer four sessions of Crane and Hoisting Equipment Operator – Mobile Crane Operator training in the 2024-25 academic year, in September, October, February and May.
  • Each session will train 8-12 apprentices for a total of 40 available seats during the year.
  • In total, NAIT, SAIT and IUOE will offer more than 300 Mobile Crane 1 training seats in the 2024-25 academic year.

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