On October 7th, Northern Lights School Division celebrated the erection of the rig for the first of its kind, Service Rig course offered at Bonnyville Centralized High School (BCHS). The Rig is located north of Bonnyville’s industrial area, on 54th avenue.
The course is designed in two parts, the first semester is a unique classroom experience for students with a computerized learning environment. Students learn through a video-game like program that offers them scenarios and options to play out. This eliminates any danger in learning different elements of the rig and prepares students for the real-life aspect of the course, on a working service rig. “It’s a visualized environment,” explains Superintendent, Roy Ripkens, “they have to go through the process of working on a service rig and they are not allowed to make any errors, or they have to go back and repeat it. So when it comes time to step onto a real service rig, they’ll be well acquainted with what there and attentive to the safety issues.”
This program means a lot to NLSD, explains Superintendent Ripkens, “it’s a locally developed course. We partnered with Alberta Distance Learning Centre to share it provincially, they partnered again with Cool Immersive, to gamify the curriculum. That’s the part that really engages the students and garbs their attention.”
NLSD has expanded the program from focusing solely on the service rig to including more trades, explains Communications Officer Nicole Garner, “last year it was the Service Rig Training Centre, now it’s the Trades Exposure Training Centre. There’s a big shop out there and it’s intended to be a scaffolding shop, which is the next piece of this.” While the division develops the Scaffolding Course, they are preparing to have students on-site for the Service Rig course. Students are in the classroom until February, which will launch the second semester and the second portion of the course.
A Scaffolding Course is under development, explains Garner who says the board is unsure if they will have a video-game element, “we’re still kicking around ideas. The [game] has gone over so well with the Service Rig course, so that’s something that we’d like to do.” However, like most things, “there’s a price tag attached to that.” NLSD received grants for developing the Service Rig course, as well as, oil industry donations; such as Ensign donating the working service rig. NLSD is still in the early stages of developing the Scaffolding course, thus, are unsure what grant funding and donations, if any, will be available.