Twenty-three Elkford, Fernie and Sparwood grades 11 and 12 students had the opportunity of a lifetime participating in the Elk Valley’s Project Heavy Duty 2011. With incredible sponsorship and numerous skilled and dedicated volunteers, students gained knowledge in various aspects of safety training/certification and equipment operation. Many students applied for this free and very popular program but only those that had good attendance and course history were interviewed by a school counsellor and finally selected for the program. Students who complete the course also receive two credits towards graduation and attain notable elements for their resume.
To begin the program students received First Aid Level One certification from the College of the Rockies, WHMIS certification, Fire Extinguisher Training from Sparwood Fire Chief Rick Goold, and WorkSafe BC training. Students also toured Teck’s Elkview Coal Operations and Sparwood Finning learning about the industry and career opportunities. Worksafe BC provided the entire on site safety orientation and supplied the teens with their own high visibility vest and safety glasses.
In the second part of the program students got hands-on experience and individual mentoring from experienced equipment operators. Twelve pieces of heavy duty machinery were generously donated from local companies and veteran equipment operators volunteered their time to teach the students how to safely run all of them. Fortis BC and Terasen Gas attended and presented students with practical instruction on electrical and natural gas safety.