Fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers in southeastern Alberta are invited to participate in the RenuWell workforce training program, offered in partnership by Medicine Hat College and the Canadian charity non-profit Iron and Earth.
The training program, which runs June 20-27, explores ways to turn idle oil and gas sites into renewable energy projects. The program, which can accommodate 15 participants, focuses on cross-training people already working in the oil and gas industry. Participants will experience classroom learning and simulations, and visit regional RenuWell project sites.
“There are a lot of rental sites, abandoned oil fields or oil wells in farmers’ fields, where oil companies have gone bankrupt or stopped producing,” said Wesley Paterson, training manager in MHC company, to the News. “The RenuWell program has identified many potential sites that could be reclaimed and then retrofitted with solar systems.”
In addition to introducing more renewable energy options to southeastern Alberta, Paterson believes the training will provide additional job stability for participants.
“There is sometimes instability with work,” Paterson said. “Oil and gas are good right now. But we have seen it rise and then fall. So some people think that when things are going well, “It’s going to go on like this forever.” And this reality is not true. (But) solar, wind, a lot of these projects have a bit more stability.
“It’s the kind of stuff, especially in our area and our region, that I see over the next decade that we’ll be heading for,” Paterson said. “So Iron and Earth is looking at, how are we going to transition a workforce, if the jobs are going to be in these new industries?”
Applications for the program close on May 30. Anyone interested in participating in the program should apply online at ironandearth.org. The program begins on June 20, but those chosen to participate can also take part in tickets and safety certifications from June 9 to June 17.
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