School District 58 hosts SD58 Rocks Heavy Duty Equipment Operator Experience event.

On April 12 and 13, seven students from Merritt Secondary School and one Princeton Secondary School student got the opportunity to get hands-on experience using heavy machinery.

2024 marks the first year SD 58 has done an event like this. “Heavy equipment experience runs out of SD 73 and Williams Lake districts,” said SD 58 career programs dual credit coordinator Kevin McGifford. “So we’ve seen that the events happen at a much larger scale and that inspired us to work together with local companies to create an experience for the students.”

SD 58 collaborated with Arnica, Boston Pizza, B.C. Ministry of Transportation, Emcon, Salmon Arm Crushing, Infracon, Mar-King, Millco, MSS PAC, Nadina Logging, Nicola Chainsaw, Nomad Hauling, LNSS, RSI, Securiguard Services, Southern Interior Construction Association, WorksafeBC, and YRB to make SD58 Rocks possible.

The event was attended by eight Grade 11 and 12 students out of approximately 15 applicants.

“Our intention is to put students on track for a career path at a time in their lives when we can support them entering into the trades experience,” said McGifford. “In the past, it was typically trades areas, for example, construction, plumbing, electrical, welding, but recent years, we’ve expanded into early childhood education and healthcare.”

Princeton Secondary School student Madison Paige Letourneau wants to enter into the mining or trades industry after high school. “I’m just trying to get out there, do as much as I can, try new approaches and this was free and it was offered to me so I decided to take it,” said Letourneau.

“You do get a certificate from this and I’ve already gotten my construction site safety and WHMIS certificate from doing this which was free and provided to me,” said Letourneau. “Being able to say this, ‘yeah I did this,’ having this resume, being able to explore if I want to jump in the mine, I already have this prior experience.”

“I hope they come back with a memory that’ll sit with them for a long, long time; I hope they’ve built some connections with the operators and the local companies that are supporting the event, and perhaps it’s inspired them to dig a little deeper and to pursue working in industry as a career,” said McGifford.