Local hydro group supports powerline technician studies with grants

Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. has announced the endowment of the Rick Lane and Corrie Bridgman memorial academic grant that will provide two $1,000 bursaries annually for full-time students in the second year of the powerline technician program.

Funded by Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. as a memorial to two employees who passed away, the grant provides support for students who wish to embark on a career in the power industry. To be eligible, students must achieve a minimum average of 70 per cent in the first year of the program and demonstrate financial need.

Guelph Hydro is also supporting Conestoga’s new program at the Ingersoll campus, with the donation of a 45-foot, single bucket truck, hydro poles, and switchgear for use as teaching aides. A representative of Guelph Hydro also serves on the local advisory committee of the program.

 “The Canadian Electricity Association reports that within the electricity sector, more than 26 per cent of the workforce will be eligible for retirement within the next ten years,” said, Barry Chuddy, chief executive officer of Guelph Hydro. “The new powerline technician program offered by Conestoga College will provide Guelph Hydro and other utilities with a supply of well-trained apprentices in coming years.”

Kazi Marouf, the chief operating officer of Guelph Hydro, said, “We felt that a grant to support financially challenged students preparing themselves for careers in the electricity sector would be a fitting memorial to two well-respected colleagues who sadly passed away while actively employed by Guelph Hydro.”

Conestoga’s powerline technician program, offered at the Ingersoll campus, provides an opportunity for students to prepare for all facets of powerline and related occupations. Through the two-year diploma program, students learn the skills for the construction, maintenance, and repair of overhead and underground power systems and may work on power lines, communication networks, and at electrical power stations. Students are registered as powerline technician apprentices with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) and a consortium representing the employer group.