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Robert Day


Marine Engineering Technology Program
Georgian College
Owen Sound, Ontario

Robert Day

After becoming a casualty of outsourcing in the technology sector a number of times, 37-year-old Robert Day was looking for a job that would prove challenging but also provide a more stable career path.

He moved back to his hometown of Markdale and perused the courses being offered at the nearby Owen Sound campus of Georgian College.  He was immediately drawn to the three-year Marine Engineering Technology program, which combined courses supported by a state-of-the art laboratory and propulsion systems simulator with real-life training aboard vessels. “I have always been interested in fixing things and curious about how things work. This job seemed to offer so much variety. Once I started the program, I knew it was going to be interesting.”

His first four-month work placement was aboard a cruise ship sailing in Alaska. This year, Robert is training aboard the bulk carrier vessel Peter R. Creswell, which is owned by Algoma Central Corporation. “It’s far exceeded my expectations. Everybody is eager to help you learn — whether it’s the chief engineer or an oiler involved in the day-to-day maintenance. I actually get my hands dirty. I’m out working all over the ship.  The attitude is ‘Let’s learn how all the machinery works so you’ll be able to do an engineer’s job when you graduate,’” he says.

After passing his Transport Canada exams, Robert will become a 4th class marine engineer in 2013. And with many Canadian companies currently hiring, he’s confident there will be jobs available following graduation.   “I don’t think it’s a question of whether you will get a job.  Given the demand for new recruits right now, I think if you have the training and qualifications — there is a job for you.”

Although he could choose to apply for positions on the East or West coast or overseas, Robert is hoping to work aboard a Great Lakes vessel.
One of the things he is most looking forward to is the state-of-the-art new Canadian ships that will be arriving to work in the region starting in 2012-2013.

“I want to end up on one of these new ships,” he explains. “That’s a huge opportunity for those coming into the industry. We are training with all of the latest technology at the college. We’re coming out of school with specialized training and we are comfortable working with computerized systems. We’re part of the changing face of the industry.”