Local 987 Committed to Training Apprentices at Home

This article is from the IUOE Winter 2017 Magazine.

When the industry required tower crane operators, IUOE Local 987 answered the call. Last year, Manitoba was experiencing a tremendous amount of growth in a very short time. From hydroelectric projects in Northern Manitoba to numerous high rise projects in Winnipeg's city center, work was booming.

Manitoba being a smaller market could not fulfill this manpower call out without serious skills training taking place. Tower crane training had never been available in Manitoba in the past, therefore a number of steps had to be taken before training could commence. One of the driving forces was the overall benefit this would mean not only to industry and the province, but also the union since they sought to keep their current market share at 100 percent.

Apprenticeship Manitoba, as well as the local community college, were both on board and fully supportive of this huge endeavor. Tight timelines had to be met. IUOE Local 987 purchased a Potain MD-365 tower crane and excavation started immediately. In one month the crane was up and operational.

By July, twelve apprentices had completed training through the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Manitoba, written their Red Seal and entered the industry. This is something the union, as well as the training institute, are extremely proud of.

Having a tower crane available for training puts Manitoba on the map by allowing apprentices to complete their training at home, not having to leave the province. Going forward, all apprentices will now be given an opportunity to experience operating a tower crane while going through their schooling. It also opens the door to other smaller provinces, allowing them to potentially take tower crane training in Manitoba.