IBEW Local 530, based in the Sarnia district of South Western Ontario, has opened its first stand-alone training centre, opening the way for a wider choice in training for the Local’s apprentice and journeyperson members.
“We have a substantial amount of work coming to town, necessitating more training all the time,” said Wesley Segade, RSE, the union local’s Treasurer and Training Assistant.
Sarnia is a petrochemical industry city where major employers demand a high level of safety certification. The Local relies on the region’s Industrial Education Co-op to provide safety training to meet requirements of major employers. More recently, however, Local 530 has moved to direct delivery of more specific training courses including First Aid, Arc Flash and Shock and estimating courses. In one ambitious safety push, more than 400 members completed a Working at Heights course within a two-month period.
“What we had was a classroom in the union office that could barely hold 16 people,” said Segade. “To be cost effective, especially for courses like Arc Flash and Shock, you need room for 24 trainees. Now we have two big classrooms plus a shop area that we’ll equip according to the programs we offer.”
“We like the fact that our new centre is self-contained and large enough to hold 24 or 25 trainees per classroom. That allows us to go through our membership training more efficiently. The students have got some room to work, and it’s state of the art with wi-fi, large screen TVs and lots of whiteboards.”
The grand opening on October 26 attracted municipal government officials, union members and friends. The Local combined the event with a fundraiser for breast cancer and raised $9,000, three times the original goal.
What’s Coming Next?
“We’d like to see all our members trained in Arc Flash and Shock,” said Segade. “A lot of the chemical plants require our members to get that training. It’s something we can offer during regular daytime hours. We have an education agreement with our contractors that could allow us to pay our members as they train.”
There will also be new courses in Electrical Code, something the Local previously delivered in a rented space, as well as recertification for all those who previously took Working at Heights training. Recertification is required every three years under Ontario Minister of Labour regulations.
– Wesley Segade, RSE
Wesley Segade was born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario. He lives in Sarnia with his wife and has two adult children. Wesley joined IBEW Local 530 as an apprentice in 1981 and became a Red Seal Journeyman on December 2, 1986. He has held continuous membership in the Local for over 30 years. He has worked at various locations in Sarnia and around the province, but has spent the largest part of his career with Comstock at Ontario Hydro’s Lambton Generating Station. He has also served as Treasurer of the Local for more than 14 years. In October 2016 he moved into a full-time position in the Union office with responsibility for training.
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