Canadian Natural is keenly aware of the crucial role education and training plays in developing people. An Apprenticeship Program in Horizon’s Mining area is helping employees learn new skills and achieve significant career goals through hands-on experience. The first three employees completed the program in 2015, with five more grads expected to join the list in 2016, between heavy equipment technicians (HETs) and electricians.
The program was launched in 2011 and was initiated with the intent of sponsoring our own homegrown tradespeople who would go on to fill vacant positions within the maintenance team at Horizon. The candidates selected usually start out with Canadian Natural, either as labourers or as fuel and lube technicians, but success in the program also requires a lot of dedication and commitment from those applying. To be considered, a candidate must demonstrate a strong work ethic, an aptitude in the trade they will be learning, and the ability to manage the challenges associated with going to school. Those accepted are required to complete 1,500 hours of on-the-job training, plus eight weeks of technical training per year, for a period of four years. Canadian Natural covers all expenses related to their field of study and provides apprentices with the ability to gain hands-on experience in their chosen trade.
Along with the learning experience provided to the apprentices, journeymen and other leaders with Canadian Natural have the opportunity to mentor others. This helps them develop their own leadership skills, gain fresh perspectives, and cement their role as experts in the jobs they do on site. There are a number of HET and electrical apprentices currently working alongside experienced technicians as part of the program in different areas, familiarizing them with as much of the mine equipment used at Horizon as possible.
The Apprenticeship Program symbolizes exactly what it means to live our Company mission statement of ‘developing people’ and ‘working together’, that ultimately contributes to our goal of safe, steady and reliable operations.