TD Bank donates $150K to battery electric vehicle training at Cambrian College

Cambrian College researcher Jessica Spencer and Cambrian R&D Centre for Smart Mining Manager Steve Gravel in the Battery Electric Vehicle Lab at Cambrian College. The BEV lab received a $150,000 donation from TD Bank to support its BEV maintenance training course for technicians working in the mining industry. (Supplied)

TD Bank and Cambrian College announced a new corporate training program Tuesday that it says is "set to send a charge throughout the mining industry."

In a news release, Cambrian announced TD is donating $150,000 to Cambrian’s battery electric vehicle (BEV) training program. The funds will support curriculum development and delivery, hands-on training equipment and tools, and state-of-the-art software and audio/visual components to aid in virtual delivery when needed in a COVID-19 world.

“This funding truly is such a ground-breaking investment and partnership with TD Bank,” Brandi Brathwaite, Cambrian’s director of development and alumni, is quoted as saying in the release.

“This investment from TD Bank will pay dividends for our students, industry, our community and beyond for years to come.”

The program includes an eight-day course that is currently being offered on campus with each module requiring two days to complete, and covers all areas vital to proper BEV maintenance training.

“At TD Bank, we know that education can open doors and contribute to the long-term well-being of individuals, families and communities," John Doris, TD's district vice-president, commercial banking, said in the release.

"Through the TD Ready Commitment, we are helping prepare for the generation of tomorrow by investing in initiatives that will help build employable skills and support entrepreneurs.

"Partnering with Cambrian College and investing in this new corporate and development training program is one of the ways we're helping to make this happen and we are so proud to support in creating a brighter future," Doris added.

A major barrier to getting new technologies into mines is the lack of familiarity and comfort among heavy duty technicians in the field.

“Cambrian’s Centre for Smart Mining is addressing this problem through targeted technology upskilling in a number of important high-tech areas, first and foremost BEVs,” Steve Gravel, manager of the Centre for Smart Mining, said in the release.

“This investment from TD Bank will undoubtedly allow us to offer a program that is useful, appropriate and relevant for our trainees. Our mining partners have said from Day 1 that the program needs to be hands-on and that is what we’ve been able to build out with this generous gift from TD.”

Cambrian College has partnered with MacLean Engineering on the development of curriculum for the BEV maintenance training course. MacLean is also working with Cambrian to deliver the hands-on training on full-size MacLean equipment at the company’s Sudbury-based underground test mine.

For MacLean Engineering, working with Cambrian to develop the training program is key to ensuring that industry adopts BEV technology.

“It’s really pivotal in the transition, because you can build and manufacture the equipment, but getting operator adoption and helping the mines transition over safely is a conversation that really wasn’t occurring at the same time as the technology development and the adoption,” Stella Holloway, MacLean Engineering’s VP of Northern Ontario Operations, said in the release.