Pre-Christmas tour of NAIT Fairview by Cummins generates partnership

Cummins representatives leave gifts

December 4, 2007 ? Sometimes surprises come from unexpected places. That?s what two Cummins Western Canada representatives from the Grande Prairie branch discovered when they were given their first, special tour, of NAIT?s Fairview campus.

?Since we opened our office in October 2005, we have met a lot of their graduates and we have been past the campus often on sales trips. Somehow, we never dropped in and looked around. When we did, just recently, we were really pleasantly surprised,? commented Cummins branch manager Peter Schamber.

The visitors brought some surprises of their own – the first donation of Cummins training aids. One is a 5.9 L engine common in Dodge pickups and the other an L10, 310 HP engine often used in transport trucks. Although older models, there are still plenty of these in use and they will offer good practice for apprentices, according to instructor and Associate Heavy Equipment Technician (HET) Chair, Gary Candy. He was very pleased with the clean and brightly-painted engines and remarked they will also be useful in automotive apprenticeship programs.

?It was quite the early Christmas gift. They are running engines with throttles, fuel tanks, a radiator, pumps, gauges and the whole nine yards.?

NAIT Fairview receives impressive support for its apprenticeship trades programs, in the form of equipment and parts donations from a number of manufactures. They are always much appreciated. Added to the equipment purchased and combined with experienced, industry-savvy instructors, these donations adds a new dimension for apprentices and ensures they leave with all of the ?right stuff.? Industry feedback confirms that graduates are very well regarded.

Now Cummins Grande Prairie branch, which offers service, sales and parts, will locate some newer engines for the Fairview campus, ensuring this first donation is not the last, Schamber promised. They will also be ?digging through the steel recycle bin? for parts that might be of use.

Cummins is a leader in its field, manufacturing and servicing a wide variety of engines used in heavy equipment ranging from tanks to trains to trucks to tree grapplers. Cummins Western Canada is a limited partnership, meaning that it is part-owned by employees. That arrangement encourages a company commitment and desire to ?spread the word.? NAIT Fairview is a good fit for that goal, Schamber explained.

Chris Laue, NAIT Fairview?s Heavy Equipment Chair, is encouraged by the enthusiasm of his recent visitors.

?They now know that quality apprenticeship training is available only an hour?s drive away.?

For Cummins, the relationship with NAIT Fairview, although new, is already paying off.

?Donating equipment to training programs increases awareness of Cummins products and ultimately helps us to find the people we need in the industry,? Schamber remarked.

Apprentices are filling the HET programs at the Fairview campus in record, growing numbers, to help service the resource industries. Darwin Eckstrom, Dean at NAIT Fairview, remarked that there have been 15 intakes of apprentices into the HET program this year alone, and 17 are projected for next year. Three classes run concurrently, with about 18 apprentices in each. This year there have been 235 apprentices enrolled, at all levels. By June 2008, that number will rise to 312. Among them was a Cummins journeyman technician, who recently graduated. Another will join a mechanics program in January – and there will be others.

As a symbol of a ?growing? relationship between NAIT Fairview and Cummins Grande Prairie, the visitors were presented with a uniquely-Fairview parting Christmas gift ? fresh oranges picked in the campus greenhouse. There will be other, more ?durable? benefits for both in years to come.