By Monica Lamb-Yorski
There was a whole lot of moving and shaking going on at the Centennial Gravel Pit near Williams Lake on May 13 where students enrolled in School District #27’s Heavy Metal Rocks program were getting hands-on training.
“We have 11 students from Lake City Secondary, eight from Peter Skene Ogden and four from GROW,” said David Corbett, the district’s co-ordinator of career programs as big machines moved around in the background.
“We’ve been here since Wednesday afternoon and will finish up Saturday.”
Students apply to take the program and go through an interview with industry representatives before being accepted.
This year, 32 applied and 23 were selected, Corbett added.
Once the students are accepted, and before they attend Heavy Metal Rocks, they take courses to obtain certificates for Occupational First Aid, WHMIS and the BC Construction Safety Alliance.
“We are trying not only to give them experience with equipment, but [we want to] make sure they have other certifications and skills they will need to get a good job.”
And before heading to the gravel pit last Wednesday, the students spent the morning at TRU receiving training and presentations from the Construction Safety Alliance of B.C., Worksafe BC, Orica Canada Inc., BC Hydro and Brent Graham Ltd. Environmental Services.
Then they spent the afternoon preparing the Centennial Pit, which involved cleaning up a lot of garbage.
“This site has been set up as an actual reclamation project,” Corbett said.
Starting Thursday morning the students began spending one-and-a-half hours at each station working with a professional trainer on a machine.
For Peter Skene Odgen Secondary School student Wesley Silverton, the experience at Heavy Metal Rocks builds on the skills he gained at a mine course he took at Gibraltar Mines in Grade 8, he said.
“I enjoy the learning and operating all the different equipment. It’s going really well.”
Presently he is taking skills and exploration and mechanics at school, and after graduation, he plans to study automotive mechanics at TRU in Kamloops.
Without stakeholder involvement the program would not happen, said SD 27 assistant superintendent Harj Manhas.
“I am thankful to the community for all their assistance – the equipment and the time. Just being a part of the lives of some of our SD 27 students is great.”
During his tour of the site, Manhas said he noticed a number of his former students were there as operators.
“They are helping the next generation.”
Monica Lamb-Yorski is a staff writer for the Williams Lake Tribune.