Ward: RDC instructors have global impacts

I am always inspired when I’m reminded of the powerful and far-reaching impact that our faculty have. Besides sharing their extensive experience with our RDC students, many of our faculty are sharing their knowledge and expertise with students and instructors around the world. The work of our instructors in the School of Trades and Technologies illustrates this work through partnerships in other countries.

I would like to share three examples. The first relates to the work RDC does in the provincial, national and international skills competitions. Skills competitions around the world take place to encourage and support a coordinated approach to promoting skilled trades and technologies to youth by showcasing the best a country has at national and international competitions.

Ron Stocks has been an electrician instructor at RDC for the past 15 years, and he has made huge contributions to Skills competitions. In the coming months, Ron will be involved in the Regional Skills Competition, Skills Canada Alberta and at the Skills Canada National Competition.

Internationally, Ron has participated in World Skills competitions in five countries since 2007, and has served as the Canadian expert for Electrical competitions. Recently, Ron was recognized as one of 22 international experts at the World Skills Colombia event in Barranquilla, Colombia. He shared his expertise with instructors and students preparing for the World Skills event taking place in Abu Dhabi later this year. Ron describes working with students at World Skills as an experience of a lifetime, and he shares how many students become innovators and entrepreneurs in their home countries because of the International Skills Competition.

Trades instructors David Pye, Bruce Macleod, Gilbert Renaud, Jim Scott, Ben Ripley and Tim Froehler have been working on a project in Trinidad and Tobago. RDC partnered with the National Energy Skills Center in this nation in 2008. Associate Dean Rodney Holt in the School of Continuing Education, and the team of instructors from the Automotive Service Technician, Heavy Equipment Technician, Instrumentation Technician, Millwright and Welder programs share their teaching and testing methodologies with their counterparts to ensure Trinidad &Tobago students get accredited.

Although travelling internationally has enabled our faculty to make contributions to other countries’ economic and social growth, RDC benefits from these partnerships as well. While RDC generates revenue from these activities, our instructors tell us that their learning is enhanced and this translates directly to what they bring to their classrooms at home, where RDC offers trades training to over 3,000 apprentices each year.

Finally, RDC has had the benefit of having Ken Heather, an instructor in our welding program recognized as a 2017 World Skills Team Canada Expert. His work supports RDC’s recognition as a leader in trades training not only in Alberta but around the world.

RDC is fortunate to have faculty that are willing to share their expertise internationally. International partnerships and competitions benefit students, increase the knowledge and skills of our faculty, and benefit us all.

Joel Ward is President and CEO of Red Deer College.

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