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

Editorial: If you can’t make the effort to be informed, don’t vote

A willfully ill-informed voter is to democracy what a drunk driver is to a four-lane highway

B.C. veteran uses boxing coaching and farming to combat PTSD

Cam Tetrault is a valuable contributor at Quesnel’s Two Rivers Boxing Club

Quesnel’s WorkBC branch hosts information sessions for laid off Tolko workers

Service Canada will also be in attendance at some sessions to inform employees about options

Forest management post wildfires, focus of Federation of BC Woodlot Associations AGM

More than 100 foresters came out of the woods to meet for two days to discuss what needs to change moving forward

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read