Grade 12 students at Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) who are interested in pursuing a career in firefighting can get a solid start as part of their curriculum.
Interested students will get the basic training required to be a wildland firefighter. As part of the training, students will complete are a series of courses throughout such as WorkSafe Level 1 First Aid, WHIMIS and have a chance to build their resume and interview skills.”
“This is an opportunity for Grade 12 students to get very similar training as the BC Wildfire Firefighters do,” said David Corbett, the career programs coordinator for School District No. 27. “After the training, there will be an opportunity for students to apply for a summer job with the fire crew.”
According to wildfire technician Eric Kopetski, the program has been offered to students between 100 Mile House and Williams Lake for close to 20 years, but this is the second year for a stand-alone program in 100 Mile House.
“We hope to select five to ten students for the training and hire up to two students out of the group to work on the unit crew here in town,” said Kopetski. “It gives them a great experience, a summer job and a step ahead to apply for a regular crew position for the following season.”
The application process will include a resume and cover letter, an up-to-date transcript, a copy of the student’s timetable and report card, two references and be on track to graduating with good academic standing.
Students who are hired will begin work in July and work until the end of August or with an exception until September. According to Kopetski, the normal work shift is seven hours per day and a total of 35 hours per week. Junior fire crew members are guaranteed a two-month work term.
“This is one of our best-recruiting efforts by far,” said Kopetski. “Students get to graduate high school and step right into a job that also allows them to gain experience that will be useful for a career in wildfire, go back to school or travel.”
Corbett said the district is trying to combat the number of students who graduate without knowing what they would like to do.
“We are trying to build a vision and start giving them skills and a pathway to start into their first job that is career-related,” said Corbett. “Even if a student doesn’t get hired for one of the two positions, they walk alway with such skills and training that develops confidence for future jobs.”