The College of the Rockies’ (COTR) Haul Truck program recently celebrated the graduation of its first ever all female class. Six women hailing from B.C. and Alberta competed the four week program on March 28.
The class was formed through a partnership with the Aboriginal Mentoring and Training Association (AMTA), with half of the participants coming to the haul truck program through AMTA.
“AMTA was interested in us offering an all women intake as currently women make up only about five per cent of the workforce in mines and they are an excellent source of skilled workers for the industry,” said Leah Bradish, College of the Rockies’ director of continuing education, contract training and regional campuses. “This group of women was very enthusiastic and excited about the potential to gain employment in the mining industry in Western Canada.”
AMTA Manager of Programming for the Kootenay Region, Suzanne Pederson, agreed, commenting, “This was an outstanding chance for us to continue to work with the college to provide opportunities for these COTR students and AMTA candidates to find employment in this ever growing field.”
Meagan Sam, one of the students enrolled in the March haul truck class, travelled all the way from Williams Lake for the training. Even before the course was fully completed, she was offered employment with Ledcor Group, a contractor for Gibraltar Mine.
“The program and the instructor were both great,” said Sam. “I am so glad that I was able to gain experience in emergency scenarios in a simulator so I know how to react if I run into trouble on the job. I am definitely going to be more comfortable driving a haul truck in my new job having been through this training.”
The program has received support from several different companies and organizations throughout the region. “Teck went above and beyond for this group, providing a tour of their Fording River operations to the students. We can’t thank them enough for that,” said Bradish. “We also greatly appreciate our partnership with AMTA and all of the support they have given the haul truck program from the start.”
The Haul Truck Operator program runs monthly in both Fernie and Cranbrook and combines classroom instruction, online coursework, and safety tickets, as well as one on one coaching on the college’s motion-based haul truck simulators. The simulators provide a virtual haul truck driving experience in a variety of weather and emergency situations. A mobile simulator will be ready by the end of April and will be available to provide training anywhere in Western Canada.
To learn more, go to www.cotr.ca/haul-truck.