SMS Rents Partners With Niska Career Academy In Cochrane To Provide Skilled Workers To The Job Market

Experienced equipment instructors build jobsite skills for local communities and employers.

TIMMINSON – SMS Rents, one of Canada’s fastest growing equipment rental providers has joined a group of industry professionals who are partnering to create new employment opportunities through education in Northern Ontario.

Henri Carriere (standing), one of the trainers at SMS Rents.

Brett Moroso, a Regional Manager for SMS Rents, reports that staff members from their rental stores are contributing their expertise as instructors for the new Niska Career Academy located in Cochrane, Ontario. The academy provides a variety of courses combining classroom and practical instruction in equipment operation and jobsite safety. Programs cover the full scope of job skills from truck driving and heavy equipment operation to erecting scaffolding and rigging as well as environmental management, personal safety and CPR. The SMS Rents instructors are training students to qualify for three different certificates related to the safe operation of aerial lift equipment and forklifts including variable reach machines.

Niska Career Academy is a new training institute established last year to develop employees with the skills needed for employment at major construction projects currently underway in the region. Adam McCarty, Director of the academy, reports that at least eight large mining and hydroelectric projects are now in development within 300 km of Cochrane, all with a large appetite for skilled workers. The Lower Matagami project of Ontario Power Generation and the Detour Gold mine, for example, are each projecting a need for up to 800 workers on their sites. Since classes first started up in September, the academy has already graduated approximately 200 students. “And the employers keep coming back to us,” says McCarty. “Our employment placement rates have been very high!”

From the beginning, the school recognized that partnering with local firms would ensure that its courses were a close match with the specific requirements for employment on these jobsites.

The SMS Rents courses provide instruction on three types of material handling machines: aerial scissor lifts and booms; forklift trucks and variable reach forklifts or telehandlers. The courses are an extension of the training programs that SMS Rents offers through all of its stores.

Each course is presented as a one-day program. However, students are encouraged to complete all three of its courses. Moroso explains, “With the three certificates, the graduates can offer future employers flexibility and therefore are much more valuable on the jobsite.”

Moroso says his instructors also offer refresher courses for workers who need to renew their certificates. “Our slogan at SMS Rents is Job Ready,” he continues, “and that’s how we want all of the grads to arrive at their new jobs.”

The academy is an initiative of the Moose Band Development Corporation, a business arm of the Moose Cree First Nation, which has retained a majority interest in the school. While the training programs are open to all, the initial impetus came from the desire of the area’s First Nations to help their people take advantage of the emerging opportunities created by the new developments.

SMS Rents also shares a special attachment to the area, as Cochrane is the hometown of the company’s President, Marcel Langlois.  “We welcomed the chance to take an active part in setting up the Niska program,” says Langlois. “Our partnership there is part of our company commitment to give back to the communities we serve; to support growth and prosperity in our own backyard.”

About SMS Rents
SMS Rents is a leading equipment rental company in Canada serving customers in the Construction, Industrial and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) markets. Through its growing network of stores in Ontario and Quebec, SMS Rents is committed to bringing their customers project solutions with a complete selection of equipment and tools as well as a Job Ready attitude to every stage of a project, large or small.

For additional information about SMS Rents, visit or contact Yamen Aldajani at, 289.247.2770 x 232 /