Students Hit the Books and the Tracks at Confederation College

Confederation College
Confederation College

Geoffrey Johnstone, Railway Conductor Program Graduate
Geoffrey Johnstone, Railway Conductor Program Graduate

THUNDER BAY, ON – Students in the Railway Conductor program hit the books and then the railway tracks during the fall semester.  With a high demand for more qualified professionals in the railway industry, and a high employment rate for graduates of the program, these students can look forward to a successful future in the field.  Confederation College is now seeking new applicants for its winter semester.

One of only four colleges offering the program in Canada, Confederation has seen 10 classes graduate with almost all of the graduates gaining employment very quickly.  The few that are still waiting have a specific work location in mind, which can limit their options, but they have already been selected by the railway stations as future employees when the right position becomes available.

“Railways know we provide a solid program,” said Doug Johnson, Program Instructor and Owner of Iron Horse Training, the College’s delivery partner.  “Safety is our first priority, with our second being to ensure our students have the skills they need to be desirable to employers and ultimately, successful in their careers.”

Jason Burridge, Railway Conductor Program Graduate
Jason Burridge, Railway Conductor Program Graduate

Jason Burridge, 40 years old from London, Ontario is one of the graduates from the fall semester.  After almost 20 years of working for Kellogg’s in the London plant, the closure of the plant left Jason without a job.  While working for Kellogg’s, as his father and grandmother did before him, Jason was surrounded by trains transporting grains to the plant.  When left with a decision about what to do next, he was inspired to pursue a career as a Railway Conductor.

“The closure was really a blessing in disguise,” said Jason.  “I was in school five days later, doing something that I knew would give me and my family a secure future.  There are lots of jobs in the industry, especially with all of the retirements that are happening, and the compensation package is very attractive.”  Jason is married with two young children.

“My experience in this program has given me a whole new respect for trains, especially when I’m waiting at a railway crossing.  Now I know the reason behind everything and why it all works.”

Geoffrey Johnstone, from Montreal, Quebec, also knows what it’s like to live without job security, having held a number of different jobs, the most recent of which ended with him being laid off.

“The cost of the program is a really good investment to make,” he said.  “It gives you a leg up on the other applicants who try to apply without the education behind them.  What I know now compared to before I started the program is invaluable.”

Geoffrey is a proud army reservist (since 2000) and is married with an infant son and another son on the way.

“I believe in always learning new things and what I’ve gained by graduating from this program is a wealth of knowledge and an important asset on my resume.”

The Railway Conductor program is a 12-week program delivered in Thunder Bay in partnership with Iron Horse Training.  Designed, approved and endorsed by the Institute of Railway Technology, part of the Railway Association of Canada, the program incorporates the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR).  CROR certification is mandatory for all railway employees.

The winter semester will commence January 19, 2015.  For more information and to apply, visit www.confederationc.on.ca/training/railwayconductor.