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Train conductor program back on track

The college shut down the conductor program because of the pandemic.
Left, Jason Ozbolt, director of Workforce Development at Confederation College. Right, Carol Cline is the dean of workforce development at the college.

THUNDER BAY — The college is relaunching its train conductor program to fill positions in the rail industry. 

Through a partnership with CP Rail, Confederation College will start the program in early May. This is in direct response to industry need, says the dean of workforce development at the college. 

"They're looking for train conductors and looking at filling those positions. And as we know, there's trades needs around, there's industry and mining and forestry. Rail is just one of those industries as well that is looking to recruit employees to suit that need -- to be able to keep things moving across the country," Carol Cline said.

The program was originally set to start just before the pandemic. 

"You have to be in small quarters to do train conductor training, and that wasn't allowed during COVID. So we put it on hold, and now we're relaunching it." 

 Jason Ozbolt, workforce development director at Confederation College, described what the 12-week program entails. 

"We've aligned ourselves with the Railway Association of Canada to identify the training standards. And as such, we've designed a 12-week program that encompasses some theory, some practical that gives them an overview of coupling and uncoupling trains, signals, just basic operations in the yards. It prepares them for a wide range of opportunities with industry partners.

"We feel this program provides students with a good foundation and a good understanding, when they connect with our industry partners to look at potential future workplace opportunities," Ozbolt said.

With space for only 12 students, successful candidates must have a minimum Grade 12 education and be excited to work in the field.

"Trainees that get into this field could be looking to make upwards of $80,000 per year -- so it's a very lucrative field. With the right training and preparation, we feel this will help individuals get into the workplace with our industry partners. This will take our students to the next level to have a nice long fruitful career in the railway industry."

Details of the program can be found on the college's website

Katie Nicholls

About the Author: Katie Nicholls

Originally from central Ontario, Katie has moved here to further her career in the media industry.
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