Trades instructors nominated for 2015 Top Instructor Award

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February 2, 2016
Three Lakeland College instructors are among 40 people nominated for Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) Board’s 2015 Top Instructor Award
Aidan Grinde, Don Henry and Angus MacLean were nominated by registered apprentices who took technical training at Lakeland College’s Vermilion campus between November 2014 and November 2015. Through the Top Instructor Award, AIT recognizes two people – one in northern Alberta and one in southern Alberta – who perform beyond the requirements of the average instructor. They must have excellent presentation skills and be fair, friendly and firm.

“Congratulations to all three instructors on their nominations. This is a great testament to the quality of instruction that the students of Lakeland receive. Aidan, Angus and Don have been selected by their students for an award that we, including all of us in our school, strive for each year. It is very humbling when a student goes out of their way to visit the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website and fill out the nomination form for one of our own,” says Dave King, dean of Lakeland’s School of Trades and Technology.  

Since joining Lakeland in 1986, Henry has taught primarily in the heavy equipment technician trade although he has also instructed automotive service technician apprentices. He’s the author of the textbook Fire Department Pumping Apparatus Maintenance.  

Thirty years into his teaching career, Henry still enjoys seeing the look on a student’s face when they “get it” and realize how something works. “It’s nice when, four or five years after you’ve taught them, they send an email, phone or I see them in a store and they say that I helped them and that they really enjoy their career. That’s very satisfying,” says Henry. His nominee wrote that Henry makes it fun to go to technical school and that sharing his years of experience with them is very valuable.

Grinde, an instrumentation instructor, started at Lakeland in the fall of 2013. “I like it more than I ever expected,” says the former instrumentation contractor of teaching. “My first year was very humbling. I think I put in 10 to 12 hours every day of the week including weekends. But I really enjoy it and I haven’t looked back.” The apprentice who nominated him indicated Grinde was the best instructor he has ever had and that it was a pleasure to attend his class.

MacLean, a holder of four trades tickets, has worked in industry for more than 30 years so the switch to the classroom has been challenging, but very rewarding. Currently in his second year of instructing in the steamfitter-pipefitter trade, MacLean sees his award nomination as affirmation that he’s on the right track. 

“I spend a lot of time learning how to present the information to students. Thirty years in the trade doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher. For me the learning curve has been straight up,” he says. According to information on his nomination form, MacLean goes far beyond what is expected of an instructor. “It’s a true honour and a pleasure to be taught by someone so passionate about the trade and work and who is constantly striving for excellence,” wrote his nominee. 

The 2015 Top Instructors will be recognized at the AIT awards ceremony in April 2016. The award winners are Norm Driver, an electrician instructor at Grande Prairie Regional College, and Donna Robbins, a hairstylist instructor at Delmar College. AIT received 42 nominations for 40 instructors throughout Alberta.

Photos: From the top, Angus MacLean, Aidan Grinde and Don Henry were nominated by registered apprentices who took technical training at Lakeland College’s Vermilion campus.

February 2, 2016