CNA brings job sites to classrooms

5/1/2019 3:41:43 PM

Robbie Hillier, Heavy Equipment Operator instructor at St. Anthony campus, watches as Terry Denney-Coombs trains on an excavator with the help of a Vortex Advantage simulator.

ST. ANTHONY, NL – Imagine sitting in an arcade style chair, toggling a gamer’s joystick, and at the same time be learning how to operate heavy equipment.

Students of the Heavy Equipment Operator (HEO) program at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) St. Anthony campus are doing just that as part of their learning experience.

CNA’s newest addition in training technology is the Vortex Advantage, an immersive training simulator that simplifies the hardest activities and procedural tasks in a safe environment without dangerous implications.

“The college strives to provide the highest level of post-secondary technical training, whether it’s in our rural communities, our province or beyond,” said Brad Pilgrim, Campus Manager at St. Anthony campus. “The addition of the Heavy Equipment Operator simulator is a great example of this further enabling our students to gain hands-on experience within a safe environment, using state-of-the-art equipment.”

In addition to reducing the risk and liability of using a live machine for training, simulators eliminate maintenance, upkeep, fuel, and inspection costs. Pilgrim says the addition of the simulator gives a huge boost to the HEO program, as it allows students to get acquainted with the vehicle they want to be trained on.
Staged on a real jobsite, the simulator has three screens to help train students on backhoe, excavator, motor grader, wheel loader, and dozer.

“The Vortex Advantage is the newest technology available in the industry, which simulates real-life scenarios enabling our students to train in difficult or dangerous on-field site situations in the safety of the classroom, making it an asset for our students,” said Robbie Hillier, HEO instructor.

Equipped with several software capabilities, the simulator is a valuable teaching and training tool, providing innovative simulation capabilities, including: ground-breaking, earth moving, and cable simulation that set the industry standard for interactive 3D dynamics and simulated mechanical equipment behaviour.

“We are really thrilled with the addition of the simulator as a teaching tool,” said Hillier. “Our students feel more confident and the realism helps engage them better to understand all proper use of the controls, pedals, and onboard systems before they start operating the real equipment.”

For more information about CNA’s industrial trades programs, visit
Media Contact:
Minal Abhange
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic