Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School student, Dylan Young, learns how to operate a bulldozer with the help of Greg Pigeon at the 61 Mile Gravel Pit. Heavy Metal Rocks is a program designed to provide students with training, experience and a set of skills to move forward with post-graduation. SD27- Career Department photo.

Peter Skene Ogden students experience hard work with heavy metal machinery

A first for Heavy Metal Rocks in 100 Mile House

School District 27 (SD27) has joined forces with many local businesses and volunteers from 100 Mile House to provide high school students in Grades 11 and 12 with a one-of-a-kind learning experience.

Heavy Metal Rocks is a program designed to provide students with training, experience and a set of skills to move forward with post-graduation.

“This is a career program we do with the school district to give Grade 11 and 12 students experience and training on operating heavy equipment,” said David Corbett, coordinator of career programs for School District 27. “All of these are great skills to have moving forward after school.”

This was the first time the program was held in close proximity to Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO). The two-day program took place at the 61 Mile Gravel Pit in 70 Mile House on May 23-24.

“We have been doing this program in Williams Lake for nine years,” said Corbett. “Peter Skene Ogden students have always been involved but they have to travel to Williams Lake for those two days, so it has limited some students from participating.”

Related: Operating jumbo equipment and planning for the future

Earlier this year, Corbett began building a list of connections to make the program more accessible to the students in 100 Mile House. He was successful in doing so. Twelve students from PSO participated in this year’s program. Along with the students, there were 12 industry professionals accompanied by 12 pieces of heavy-duty machines on site.

“We ran the students through on how to use each machine and then they were able to operate them in simulations of how they would be used on the job,” said Corbett. “It’s very exciting for the students and satisfying. There were a lot of big smiles coming out of the program.”

The equipment was donated by various businesses and organizations from Clinton to 100 Mile House. Corbett said the support the program received is a big “compliment” towards the communities and their support for the younger generations. Safety equipment was provided by Work Safe BC while the 100 Mile Lions Club supplied hot meals for the two-day event and to shelter everyone from the rain, Arcada Rentals provided a big tent.

“There were so many community efforts involved to make this happen for the kids,” said Corbett.

In order for students to take part in Heavy Metal Rocks, they had to submit detailed applications, similar to applications they will see for future jobs. Corbett said he wanted to ensure the students were interested and committed to following through the requirements of the program.

“We checked their attendance and how well they are doing in their course,” said Corbett. “We wanted to know what their future goals are. The students also had to find a reference and submit that in their application. We make it very realistic as if they were applying to an actual job. Each application that came in, we interviewed the student. We were looking for students who would benefit from this experience the most.”

A handful of students were accepted while others were put on a wait list, in case something didn’t work out for another student. Once accepted, there was a series of commitments to follow through with. All of the students took part in a WHIMIS course, receive their Occupational First Aid Level 1 and BC Alliance CSTS9.

A resume writing workshop was also something the students had to take part in.

Corbett said he plans to keep building a community in the South Cariboo for the program to continue in years to come.

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