Garret Poitras, a Grade 11 student at Correlieu Secondary School (CSS), checks out the view from the driver’s seat of a logging truck during the “Find Your Path — Embrace a Career in Logging and Trucking” event May 11 at the school. This was the first time the event, put on by the BC Council of Forest Industries in partnership with West Fraser Quesnel and CSS, was held in Quesnel, and it gave students the chance to climb into trucks and logging equipment and speak to operators. Lindsay Chung photo

Correlieu students learn about career opportunities in logging and trucking

B.C. Council of Forest Industries’ “Find Your Path” education event comes to Quesnel for first time

Lindsay Chung

Observer Reporter

Correlieu Secondary School students had a chance to sit in a skidder, climb aboard a buncher and sit in – and blow the horn of – a logging truck last Friday.

A row of large vehicles and equipment lined the student parking lot May 11 when the British Columbia Council of Forest Industries (COFI) held its first “Find Your Path – Embrace a Career in Logging and Trucking” event in Quesnel, in partnership with West Fraser Quesnel and Correlieu Secondary School (CSS). The full-day event was expected to attract about 400 students.

Jim Costley, the education manager for COFI, says this event is all about showing students the opportunities that are out there in the forest industries. Students receive a hands-on opportunity to learn about careers in the logging and trucking sectors of the forestry industry and get a chance to speak with operators and contractors to learn more about their jobs.

“We’re here to make kids aware of all the different opportunities in the forestry industry,” Costley said Friday morning, as students milled about the CSS parking lot, climbing up into dump trucks, logging trucks, a skidder and a buncher, and speaking to operators.

“We’re focusing on logging and truck driving. We’ve got this equipment because we’re forecasting 50 per cent of the workforce is going to retire in the next 10 years, and we need to fill seats.”

COFI does not recruit potential employees, but it does partner with members like West Fraser to reach – and then support – the youth who could potentially fill those job openings.

Grade 12 students who would like to work in the forest industry can apply for COFI scholarships for professional, technical or trades studies, with the current applications due May 31.

Bowen Sly, planning co-ordinator with the Woods Group with West Fraser Quesnel, sees a lot of value in these hands-on events.

“Jim and I work quite frequently to put on events like this to give kids exposure to career paths,” he says.

“We recognize the next generation of men and women filling the seats and working in the trees, we need to actively engage them for the business to continue to be successful into the future.

“To give kids the opportunity to engage and slow things down so kids can touch [the equipment] and ask the questions that come to mind at that time is very valuable. We already had one girl who was very interested in the skidder, and she got up and got to try the controls – that was very awesome to see.”

With COFI’s education program, students have a chance to learn about different career paths through events such as this one; trades workshops and natural resource management workshops, which take students into the forest, where they get hands-on experience learning from professionals. Costley says with these types of workshops, the students’ energy goes up, and so does their engagement and, consequently, their learning.

“West Fraser, we take Jim’s organization’s drive and give it an outlet,” adds Sly.

“Our organization has so many partners that we can connect kids with machines and get kids into the forest and start to make it real for them and show them the tools and opportunities. The message we want to drive home is there are a lot of opportunities for well-paying jobs in forestry.”

Some of those jobs don’t even have much to do with trees, Sly and Costley both point out, offering office administrator and media relations as examples.

“We’re trying to make kids aware of the jobs, the good, the bad and why we do this,” says Costley.

Costley is grateful to CSS for bringing an event like this to the school, and he says business and information technology department head and career preparation co-ordinator Martin Runge has been a huge part of making this event a success.

Runge says this event is a chance to open students’ eyes to the different options that are out there.

“It was open to teachers, and I’m hoping by the end of the day, most of the school will go through,” he says.

“We’re trying to say to teachers, ‘All our kids may not be academic,’ and we’re trying to say ‘Check it out.’ For us, it’s just an awareness. Both West Fraser and COFI have been fantastic partners for us.

“We try to get kids out of their comfort zones. The whole idea is to look at what’s out there that you might not have been thinking about.”

 

Correlieu Secondary School Grade 11 student Jaylene Abrosimoff finds out what it’s like to sit in the driver’s seat of a kidder during the “Find Your Path — Embrace a Career in Logging and Trucking” event May 11 at the school. Lindsay Chung photo

Just Posted

Annual Foam Fun Run coming up June 2 at West Fraser Timber Park

Get set for a foamy fun time at this fundraising event

Dragon Lake Elementary School hosts safety conscious bike rodeo

Grade 2 students were given tips on proper helmet fitting and safe riding in time for summer

Quesnel’s Interclub Gymnastics team swings, spins and shimmies to wins in Prince George

Interclub puts focus on performance, says program co-ordinator Elizabeth Floyd

Partners for Healthier Communities: North Cariboo seeking proposals for local food security projects

Groups with ideas or projects that promote healthy eating and food security are encouraged to apply

A quacking good time on Dragon Lake

Mother’s day paddle was excellent exercise and an informative journey

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

Abbotsford high school teacher charged with sexual offences involving two youths

Henry Kang, 50, charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Toronto Raptors star to hold basketball camp in B.C.

DeMar DeRozan is hosting a four-day camp for players aged 6-16 at the University of Victoria

Military college students accused of violating Qur’an with bacon

Alleged acts by four cadets from the Royal Military College in Quebec caught on video

Canucks sign top prospect Elias Pettersson to entry-level deal

Slick centre drafted No. 5 overall in 2017 NHL draft

Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps to 1,600 hectares overnight

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 1,600 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Former B.C. police chief dies in ATV accident

Ex-Nelson top cop began his career in Vancouver

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Lava from Hawaii volcano enters ocean from 3 flows

The Kilauea volcano has been gushing lava on the big island of Hawaii for the past three weeks.

Most Read