ThinkBIG Service Technician
The ThinkBIG (Heavy Equipment) Service Technician program is the result of a unique partnership between GPRC, Caterpillar Inc., world leader in the manufacture of heavy equipment, and Finning, Caterpillar’s largest dealership worldwide. GPRC is one of two post-secondary institutions in Canada to offer this globally recognized training, which is custom-formulated to meet Alberta Apprenticeship examination requirements.
The ThinkBIG program is a two year diploma program (80 weeks in length) located at the Fairview Campus in Fairview, Alberta. Students gain advanced technical knowledge and hands-on skills directly related to Caterpillar equipment and upon graduation are ready to work anywhere Finning has opportunities – more than 40 locations across Alberta, B.C., NWT and the Yukon. Graduates are in exceptionally high demand.
This program consists of five 16-week semesters. Each is divided into two 8-week blocks: classroom theory and lab on campus, followed by a paid 8-week work practicum at a licensed Finning location.
The applicant should have a genuine interest in mechanical systems and a desire to understand the underlying theoretical principles that govern machine operation and design. The work often involves analytical troubleshooting and problem solving in an active and physical work environment. Those who are considering this program should enjoy the challenge of working on some of the largest, most technologically advanced equipment in use today. Students must be Canadian residents and able to work in a physically demanding environment.
Finning will pay the tuition for this program for successful applicants and, upon commencement of the program, students will become employees of Finning. As employees of Finning, students will receive benefits as per Finning’s benefits plan after completion of a three month waiting period.
In addition, Finning provides major financial support to students throughout the program. Each successful applicant will receive coveralls, books, apprenticeship exam fees and personal protective equipment at no cost and tools are provided, also at no cost. Students must, however, provide their own CSA approved footwear.
At the end of the program, employment is not guaranteed with Finning, but every effort will be made to accommodate successful students.
- High School Diploma (GED or Certificate of Achievement will not be accepted as an equivalency)
- Successful interview with Finning and GPRC panel.
- Pass of Standardized Differential Aptitude testing.
- Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident (Landed Immigrant).
- Completion of a Resume and a HES Career Investigation Report
- Pass of a Physical Demands Assessment as required by Finning Canada
Demand for this program is very high. Preference may be given to those who:
- have academic achievement beyond the stated prerequisites
- are actively involved in activities related to this field
- can supply references documenting their experience, involvement or potential in this field.
First Year (29 credits)
Fall (16 weeks)
- HES110 Introduction to Caterpillar Service Industry (2)
- HES121 Introduction to Machine Systems (3)
- HES131 Electrical Fundamentals (1.5)
- HES141 Hydraulic Fundamentals – Basics (2)
- HES190 Work Placement (2)
Winter (16 weeks)
- HES211 Starting and Charging Systems (2)
- HES221 Truck and Trailer Suspension and Steering (1.5)
- HES231 Air Brakes (1.5)
- HES241 Hydraulic Brakes (1.5)
- HES251 Air Conditioning Systems (1.5)
- HES290 Work Placement (2)
Spring (8 weeks)
- HES311 Electrical Circuits (1.5)
- HES321 Engine Fuel Systems (3)
- HES331 Engine Fundamentals (4)
Second Year (23 credits)
Summer (8 weeks)
Fall (16 weeks)
- HES410 Machine Hydraulic Systems (3.5)
- HES421 Power Train I (4)
- HES440 On-Highway Steering (1)
- HES490 Work Placement (2)
Winter (16 weeks)
- HES511 Power Train II (3.5)
- HES521 Machine/Engine Diagnostics/Repair (5)
- HES590 Work Placement (2)
The work Experience courses (HES190, HES290, HES390, HES490, and HES590) are taught at a licensed Finning location. (In the rare occurrence that a Finning placement is not available, the student will be required to arrange a practicum placement with the assistance of the College.)
Students must pass both the school exams and the Heavy Equipment Technician apprenticeship exams in order to progress to the following semester.
To be eligible to receive a ThinkBIG Service Technician Diploma students must complete all required courses with a GPA of no less than 2.7 and no failing grades. Once you have completed all program requirements, please apply to graduate.
Included is all the technical training required to meet the Alberta Apprenticeship requirements for Heavy Equipment Technician (HET). Students can challenge all the HET apprenticeship examinations and may achieve journeyperson status after the specified “time-on-the-job” requirements are met. Apprenticeship information can be accessed by visiting http://tradesecrets.alberta.ca.