In 2017, Max Eckstein was a grade 11 Sun West student at Eaton School who was starting to think about potential careers. One day, DLC instructor Jim Noseworthy visited his school to talk about the Power Engineering program that he and Carla Lorer teach.
Max already knew quite a bit about Power Engineering because his father is a Regional Manager with Great Plains College and had provided him with information on the profession. Max had been thinking about pursuing power engineering after he graduated high school but when Jim explained that he could work towards a 4th Class certification in Power Engineering while still in high school, Max felt it was “. . . too good an opportunity to pass up.”
Max explained that Power Engineering appealed to him because, “I couldn’t see myself in an office job but I didn’t want to do straight manual labour either – this job has a good mix of both and it is a well-paying job.”
Power engineers are certified professionals who are essential to keeping power plants running in hospitals, pulp mills, oil upgraders, refineries, manufacturing plants and countless other operations. There are approximately 30,000 power engineers employed in Canada but at current retirement rates, it is expected there will be as many as 11,000 vacancies in the next 5-10 years and only about 8,000 new power engineers to fill those positions.
The DLC Power Engineering program was developed in cooperation with Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Saskatoon and has been recognized by the Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK).It consists of four high school credit, online courses taught by Carla and includes the option of taking six hands-on labs taught by Jim on weekends. Both Jim and Carla are certified power engineers. Jim also developed the Power Engineering program at Durham College in Ontario and worked as a power engineer in various capacities for over 20 years.
While Max indicated he enjoyed the classes he also said, “It was a heavy load – quite a lot of work that had to be done . . . but it was laid out well and there were different ways to approach the material; videos, pdf documents, and practice tests.” He especially enjoyed the labs saying, “The labs were pretty fun. I made some good friends and it was good to get the practical side.”
Max completed the course by the time he graduated high school in 2018. Although he could have started working as a 4th Class Power Engineer, he decided to get his 3rd Class certification at Parkland College in Yorkton first. He also successfully completed that program and is currently working in a six month term position at the Popular River Power Station near Coronach. When that term is complete he plans on taking his 2nd Class Power Engineering certification in Lloydminister.
For more information, check out our website at https://powerengineering.sunwestdlc.ca/