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ORBA offers 30 courses with 14th Annual Road Building Academy

October 30, 2020  By Jay Koblun

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Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA) just announced the program for its 14th Annual Road Building Academy and for the first time is offering a certificate in project management through the University of Waterloo Professional Development program.

“This is the first year that students will walk away from the Academy with a certificate,” says Bryan Hocking, ORBA chief operating officer. “Students who complete the full course will receive a certificate in project management that is accredited with the University of Waterloo Professional Development program, this is a very high calibre program that would benefit anyone who manages a team or who is a project manager. The certificate is valuable to anyone that participates in the course.”

The event takes place February 22 to 26, 2021, at the BMO Institute for Learning in Scarborough, Ont., and brings world-class instructors and courses from across North America to Ontario, the Academy is offering 30 courses of which 14 are new. Courses cover management, leadership, business practice, health and safety and legal topics.


The curriculum is compatible with the project management industry standard set by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The certificate consists of two five-day modules comprising 10 days of training and delivering 70 Professional Development Units (PDU)/Contact Hours of training.

The Asphalt Institute (AI) is partnering with ORBA again this year, offering a two-day Paving Inspector course covering fundamental information that every asphalt plant mix roadway inspector should know. The course first debuted in Canada at the 2020 Academy and is the only course of its kind available in Canada.

“Selecting instructors and partners is very important to ORBA. The instructors set the calibre of the courses we’re presenting to the students, and it’s always a privilege to partner with other great institutions,” says Hocking. “The Asphalt Institute, for example, has more than 100 years of experience in asphalt tech and the Paving Instructor course offers the advantage of learning from the top source of industry expertise.”

Since 2007, ORBA’s Road Building Academy has provided the industry with a diverse array of learning opportunities. Each year ORBA strives to expand the program,

“When it began in 2007, I believe ORBA offered around nine or 10 courses, which has since changed quite a bit. We do about 30 now, roughly three times the number we started out with,” says Hocking. “We’ve brought in about 3,000 students in total. Each year we see about 300 students and about 10 per cent are returning from previous years; coming back for updates, or taking an alternate course.”

Companies considering registering for the Academy are encouraged to take advantage of the Canada-Ontario Job Grants Program, which gives direct financial support for employee training. Funding is available to small, medium and large businesses planning to deliver short-term training to employees. All ORBA Road Building Academy courses are eligible for funding. Employers are eligible for up to $10,000 in government support per person for training cost.

Part of the Road Building Academy Program includes 10 online courses, powered by BuildForce Canada. Online courses can be taken at any time.

ORBA said the Academy is set to take place in person. All safety protocols will be in place to ensure everyone’s safety and class sizes will have a limited capacity. ORBA is encouraging participants to register early and contingency plans are in place to move all courses online if needed.

“We’re very fortunate in this organization to have a lot of volunteers working for us and they are all in management level, so they’re giving up a lot of their time and we really appreciate it,” says Hocking.

For more information on the 2021 Road Building Academy, online courses and the Canada-Ontario Job Grant program, visit



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