GREG Selinger's first public duty as Manitoba's new premier was touring Red River College's Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre Tuesday morning.

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GREG Selinger's first public duty as Manitoba's new premier was touring Red River College's Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre Tuesday morning.

Selinger said he wanted to learn more about the college's training and apprenticeship programs.

New Premier Greg Selinger (right) meets with new U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson at the legislature Tuesday.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

New Premier Greg Selinger (right) meets with new U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson at the legislature Tuesday.

The province has spent $12 million over the past few years to increase apprenticeship positions at the college, up to 300 from 50.

Selinger also spoke with instructors and students.

"They're all very confident they'll meet the red-seal standard, which is the gold standard in apprenticeship," the new premier said.

Student in the trades are employed while in training.

Ninety-five per cent continue to work in Manitoba after their training is finished.

Selinger toured the college with RRC president Jeff Zabudsky, Neil Cook, chairman of the transportation program at the college and Ken Webb, vice-president, academic and research of RRC Apprentices, transportation program.

Earlier Tuesday, Selinger met new American ambassador David Jacobson at the legislature.

The new premier also spoke by telephone to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"Prime Minister Harper congratulated him on becoming premier of Manitoba," Harper's office said in a statement.

"The prime minister told the premier that he looks forward to meeting with him in the near future to discuss their mutual priorities and issues of common concern."