Heavy Equipment Operator Course Returns To Warren Campus In July

The Heavy Equipment Operator course will be offered by Vance-Granville Community College starting Tuesday, July 10, at the college’s Warren County Campus.

A Short-Term Workforce Training Grant from the N.C. Community College System will be available to cover the cost of tuition and books for qualified students taking the nine-week course, according to Kyle Burwell, VGCC’s director of occupational extension.

“This course presents an excellent opportunity for students to learn the techniques and safety aspects of operating heavy equipment while exploring the various types and functions of the equipment,” Burwell said. “Students completing the course come away from it with the general understanding to secure a job for a company preparing a site for the construction of buildings, roadways and other structures.”

The college has worked with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to help course completers find jobs with companies that contract with the State.

“This is a new career opportunity that Vance-Granville began offering just a few years ago with training that previously had not been available in our service area,” Burwell said. Classes will be held on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays, July 10 to Sept. 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break.

The Heavy Equipment Operator training program has three computerized training simulators, offering a safe and efficient way to train new operators in a risk-free environment, Burwell said. Highly detailed and realistic lessons teach proper operator technique, machine controls, and safe operation. The simulators feature real-world situations, jobsite hazards, safety violations, hand signals, equipment damage, budget-based scoring, and replica machine controls.

Each simulator allows students to train virtually on different types of equipment: a motor grader, a four-wheel drive loader and a backhoe. Students use foot pedals, joysticks and steering wheels that mimic those found in actual heavy equipment, while large computer monitors in front of them display a virtual jobsite in the first-person style of a video game. VGCC students use the equipment not only for practice and experience but also for testing that is required to pass the course.

The instructor for the course will be Steve Buus, who earned his diploma in Heavy Equipment Operation from Wake Technical Community College. Buus has held various positions with Caterpillar and similar companies as an operator and manager of heavy equipment. He has 30-Hour OSHA Certification in Construction Training from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

To register for the course, students may visit www.vgcc.edu/schedules/occupational-extension-schedule.

Students interested in applying for the grant should contact Kyle Burwell at (252) 738-3276 orburwellk@vgcc.edu.

Image Information: Matthew Paynter trains on a motor grader simulator in a classroom on the college’s Warren County Campus during a previous Heavy Equipment Operator course. (VGCC photo)