Sep 23, 2011
RRC’s Railway Conductor Certificate program is quickly picking up steam, proving a surefire means of achieving career success in a lucrative, fast-growing field.
The 15-week course, offered through RRC’s School of Continuing and Distance Education, provides grads with the knowledge and skills required to work as a member of a train crew, in either road or yard service. The program integrates knowledge in safety, business, communications and wellness with skills related to the management of trains, including switching and marshalling cars, transporting dangerous goods, performing inspections, copying authorities and keeping records.
Students receive a combination of classroom instruction, work site visits, hands-on application through the use of lab facilities, and an ongoing practicum simulating real working conditions.
"Bang for buck, the best program to get into right now is Railway," says recent graduate Dallas Peters, who in less than a year has risen from a conductor position with CN to a managerial position as train master in Edmonton.
"I looked around at a lot of different educational options, and I didn’t find anything else where you put in this amount of time and come out into a field that’s this high-demand.
Peters, who sought a career change after working 11 years in construction, had especially high praise for Perry Marquis, lead instructor of RRC’s Railway training program.
"He can recite the CROR (Canadian Rail Operating Rules) by memory — if you can’t learn from that guy, you aren’t going to learn from anyone," says Peters, noting graduates of the program have the potential to earn an excellent salary and benefits.
Recent graduate Robyn Miller, one of the first female student to complete the program, echoed Peters’ praise for RRC’s team of industry-trained instructors.
"It was really well-run," said Miller, who was drawn to the program because a number of her family members have also worked for railways.
"The instructors really put in the effort to help you. And they shared their stories, which helped us understand the concepts a lot better than if we’d just read it out of a book."
Winnipeg resident Chris Jackson was only 17 when he enroled in the program last fall. He’s now employed as a railway conductor with CP, and says the pre-employment training he received from RRC gave him a definite edge in the workplace.
"It puts you leaps and bounds ahead," says Jackson, whose grandfather worked as a CN conductor for 40 years. "You know the rules backwards and foreward, so you don’t have that hanging over your head all the time. You don’t have to worry about learning those rules — which can really be like a different language.
Despite his youth, Jackson is already foreman-qualified, and is hoping to soon sit on CP’s National Reserve Board — a position from which he could be called on to fill staffing needs on crews throughout the country.
"I’m 18 and I’m already looking at buying my first house in 2012," he says. "The sky’s the limit, really."
Those interested in learning more about the program can attend one of several informational sessions taking place at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus — on Sept. 29; Oct., 6, 13, and 27; and Nov. 3, 10 and 24, 2011. In conjunction with the Manitoba Metis Federation, RRC will host a speaker for interested Metis, Inuit and Non-Status students on Oct. 6 and Nov. 3.
The next entry dates for the program are January, May and September 2012.
Click here for more information on RRC’s Railway Conductor program.