Full steam ahead at Lakeland college

By Geoff Lee

December 20, 2016 12:00 AM

100 PER CENT Dan Jantzen, an instructor and practicum coordiinator for Lakeland College energy programs, reports all of this year's crop of first year Heavy Oil Power Engineering students has secured work practicums. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

The energy program at Lakeland College has opened the valves on their synergy pipeline with industry to help fill student practicums.
All first year energy students have found work placements, according to Dan Jantzen, an energy instructor and practicum coordinator at the Lloydminster campus.
“We’ve been able to place practicums because we have good industry support in this area—a good portion of practicums are with Husky.”
First year Heavy Oil Operations Technician (HOOT) students and Heavy Oil Power Engineering (HOPE) students take 240-hour work placements in groups.
“The first one left Dec. 5 and they will go until Jan. 20,” said Jantzen.
“I have another group going out from Jan. 23 to March 3 and the third group starts on March 6.”
Jantzen said Lloydminster is the base area for practicums, but students get placements all over Western Canada.
“North Battleford students have a really good base of practicums right there,” said Jantzen, noting opportunities to work with steam in companies like Northland Power, Saskatchewan Hospital and Seraphina Energy Ltd.
“We have students as far as Medicine Hat and we have placed a student in Kitimat.”
Jantzen is stoked by Husky’s plans to build more thermal heavy oil plants in the Lloydminster area with the expansion of its thermal oil business its top operational objective in 2017.
“That’s definitely is a boost for our program because student success for me is seeing our students get jobs,” said Jantzen,
“When jobs are available, then they have the opportunity to put their education to use.”
Jantzen was a former steam chief at Husky’s Pikes Peak and Bolney/Celtic thermal plants that require a core crew of power engineers for 24/7 shift work.
He said the use of steam has increased oil recovery from eight per cent by traditional primary methods to more than 70 per cent in some thermals.
Those plants also produce steam with a once through steam generator (OTSG), similar in workings to a small size OTSG teaching unit at Lakeland’s Energy Centre.
The lab enables students to get hands-on equipment training with turbines, generators and different kinds of boilers for various industrial steam applications.
“We’ve got the only once through steam generator in Western Canada in a lab,” said Jantzen.
“Ours is quite small, but it’s got all the technology that the big ones would have.”
He said that gives Lakeland’s HOPE grads a hiring advantage.
Jantzen said the cool thing about the lab is that it actually makes heat and power for the college.
He noted the plant is almost 90 per cent energy efficient.
Husky recently provided funding towards equipment for a tool room and water separation equipment to simulate thermal operations in the Energy Centre at the Lloydminster campus..
“Right now, we’re looking at it being possibly water treatment equipment,” said Jantzen.
“We haven’t made the decision on exactly what we’re going to get to meet the needs that Husky is requesting.”
Husky has identified about 18 potential new sites for new thermal plants in the coming years.
Despite the optimism in the region, not all HOPE grads are guaranteed jobs in power engineering.
“Jobs for last year’s students were a little tough to find, but every week we’re hearing of students getting a job in industries,” said Jantzen.
“That is a positive note that we are hearing about students getting jobs —it is taking them longer.”
There are currently 293 full and part-time students taking power engineering courses at Lakeland with 72 first year HOPE and 70 second-year HOPE students.
There are about 21 HOOT students.
“We have really good enrolment this year, but due to the job market being a lot softer, we expect lower enrolment numbers next year,” said Jantzen. “Other schools are already seeing lower enrolment.”
Second year HOPE students need an additional 480 hours of practicum experience in order to write an exam for a third class power engineering ticket.

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