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PHOTOS: ‘Generous’ bus donation excites College of New Caledonia Heavy Trades students

Two ageing transit buses will be made new at the Prince George post-secondary school

A donation made in Prince George today (May 29) is set to help prepare trades students for jobs that are much-needed in transit and other areas of transportation.

The Heavy Mechanical Trades department at the College of New Caledonia (CNC) received two old buses from B.C. Transit and Pacific Western Transit (PWT) looking to be restored by students during their training and studies, learning how to properly restore the ins and outs of such vehicles.

“Most of the stuff we have is just your regular truck stuff and there are lots with school districts, so it’s good to learn on that stuff as well. It was very generous of them to donate the buses and we’ve got the space now to do shop,” said student Karl Paulson to PrinceGeorgeMatters following the announcement at the school’s Heavy Trades building.

The 26-year-old is entering the final month of the four-year program and moved away from his family in Burns Lake to live on campus and attend CNC full-time.

Though his last year is in the first full year of the new facility, he is grateful the buses donated to himself, his classmates, and future students will help set the bar high when applying for jobs down the road.

“In the last couple of days, it’s nice to have more material to work with now,” he added. “CNC may not be the richest of schools, but they’ve got the best instructors in my mind. They help you as best they can to do everything you need to get through and pass your red seal.”

Even in the years prior to receiving the B.C Transit and PWT donations, Paulson said the course material has already helped settle himself into the role as a Heavy Mechanical Engineer very easily.

Of course, having the proper material to work with also a bonus.

“Year One and Year Two you go through airbrakes a lot, and there’s so many systems on those buses that run airbrakes. You know, sometimes your windshield washers run off-air, your doors open with air, and all those systems have to run into one another. So going through those first two years [of the Heavy Mechanical Trades program] really helps with that kind of stuff.”

Typically, buses that have aged will be recycled, according to B.C. Transit, and save as many parts as they can, but CNC’s Acting Associate Dean of Trades and Technologies Doug Jamieson says this gives his students the chance to help them earn a second life while also gaining the experience they need for their careers.

“This is an exciting day,” he said emphatically during the formal announcement. “It’s really important that students have access to real pieces of equipment that will help them gain employment once they leave college. The generosity of our partners is really awesome and inspiring.”

As for Paulson, he’s looking forward to the added task of restoring the two buses and hoping after graduation, a job opportunity will come knocking on his door regardless of where that may be.

“I’m pretty happy in Burns Lake, but, of course, if there was an opportunity that was really huge for me in Prince George, I’d come back for sure. I lived here for five years after high school doing different jobs before getting back into mechanicing [...], and there’s more than enough opportunities in each place to do that.”

The buses were also a joint contribution from B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and the City of Prince George.

In 2018, the B.C. Transit fleet delivered over 67,000 service hours in the city and over two million passenger trips.


Kyle  Balzer

About the Author: Kyle Balzer

Kyle Balzer graduated with distinction from BCIT's Broadcast & Online Journalism program in 2016. Since moving to Prince George, he has covered a variety of stories from education & Indigenous relations, to community interests & sports.
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