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REF NO.: 34

SUBJECT: Marine Institute’s Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre expanding to deliver firefighting training program
DATE: Oct. 4, 2004

The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University announced today that it will expand the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre (SERT Centre) in Stephenville to offer its firefighting and recruitment certificate program beginning in January 2005. The 26-week program prepares graduates, through classroom and practical training and certification, to work with municipal and industrial fire departments. The expansion will allow the institute to move the program from its Offshore Safety and Survival Centre to accommodate increased demand for marine and offshore petroleum related safety training at that facility.

The SERT Centre was officially opened in November 2003 with $1.04 million in funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to deliver certified safety and emergency training for the aviation, oil and gas, fish harvesting, and marine transportation sectors in the Atlantic region. A $250,000 purpose-built firefighting simulator will be constructed this fall that will enhance the aviation crash training field. The funding will also go to providing emergency response and crash vehicles as well as student facilities and classrooms. Two positions will be established in Stephenville by the SERT Centre expansion.

Leslie O’Reilly, executive director of the Marine Institute, sees the move as a win-win situation for everyone.

“The SERT Centre has been in operation for less than a year but has already proven its exceptional expertise to a number of municipal, aviation and industrial clients who have trained at this campus,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “Our students and clients will find that this expanded facility will greatly enhance their training experience as future firefighting professionals. The Town of Stephenville and our partner, the Stephenville Airport Corporation, will also benefit from further spin-off activity as a result of increased training.” Mr. O’Reilly also explained that the institute will work with the Stephenville campus of the College of the North Atlantic to enhance its administrative and student services at the SERT Centre.

Stephenville mayor Cec Stein welcomed the announcement. “We’re very proud to have this state-of-the-art training program and facility in our town. The expansion will attract more local, national and international students to the area and increase opportunities for our businesses and services.”

Pamela Walsh, president of the College of the North Atlantic, welcomed the opportunity to collaborate on the implementation and operation of the firefighting program at the SERT Centre. “We’re confident that the enhanced partnering between the Marine Institute and the college will lead to exciting growth at the SERT Centre.”

The institute will focus its Offshore Safety and Survival Centre in Foxtrap to deliver training programs for the marine transportation and offshore petroleum sectors. This includes completing the $2.5 million contract to train the Sea Rose FPSO operations personnel for Maersk Contractors Newfoundland Limited (MCNL). In May 2004, the institute also announced its intention to construct a marine base in Holyrood to broaden its capability in environmental response and small craft operations training.

With 40 years of education and training experience, the Marine Institute is Canada’s most comprehensive education, training, applied research and technology transfer resource in support of the international marine industries. With facilities in St. John's, Foxtrap and Stephenville, its has a full suite of state-of-the-art safety, survival and simulation facilities available to deliver a full range of training, including short industrial response courses, diploma of technology programs, and bachelor and masters degree programs.

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