May 14, 2014 7:21 pm

Prospective students camp out at NAIT for crane program

Watch above: The crane and hoist program at NAIT is raising attention in the city, as potential students have a week-long campout to get in. Kendra Slugoski has more.

EDMONTON – Nearly 50 prospective students have been holed up at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) since Monday.

People interested in the Crane and Hoist Operator apprenticeship program are lining up to get one of only 180 available spots for the first and third years of the program.

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Alberta Premier Dave Hancock said there are approximately 500 spots open in the province for crane and hoist operators, split between NAIT, Keyano College in Fort MacMurray, and Northern Lakes College based in Slave Lake.

He also talked about the lineup at NAIT and the possible reason for it.

“It’s interesting in terms of why people would be motivated to do that… I don’t want to question their motivation, they may be looking… at the spots NAIT has put up and saying ‘I want one of those NAIT spots.'”

Those in the lineup will receive a ticket in on Thursday night, and will be able to come back Friday morning to officially register.

The second person in line, Ryan Stanners, is trying to get in to his third year.

“I need to finish my trade, so I booked this time off three months ago, and I came here Monday morning at seven to see how the lineups would be, knowing there are only 96 spots in Alberta to finish my trade.”

Once he discovered the amount of people expected in the lineup on Monday, he realized he wasn’t leaving any time soon.

“I got my wife to pack my bag, and I have a sleeping bag, comfy chair, cooler, and we’ve just been hanging out,” he said.

Stanners said it’s crucial to get his journeyman status ticket.

“It gives me a lot more options. As an apprentice, companies will take you, but you’re definitely not priority.”

The program has only one intake per year, and consists of a four-week long in-school first semester, followed by 1,500 hours of in-the-field experience, and then another five weeks in-school for the third semester.

Over the course of the program, students also need to complete 90 hours of self-study assignments.

Prospective student Adam O’Hara lined up Tuesday night.

“I want to get in to school here at NAIT, so I came today before I lose a spot. There’s only so many opportunities to get in to class.”

NAIT says it only provides the facility, and the province decides how registration is done and how many spots are available.

While most programs at NAIT have online registration, the apprenticeship programs do not.

NAIT said the province is responsible for setting up online registration, and that they expect it to be ready in a year-and-a-half.

“We’re working on the online registration, because we’re working with a number of different colleges across the province and a number of different systems,” said Hancock.

“The ideal will be to have someone be able to go online for their trade, find the course, where they want to take it, when they want to take it, and register.”

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