It’s time for Prince George high school students to get behind the driver’s seat of over two dozen different pieces of heavy machinery.
That’s because School District No. 57 (SD57)’s heavy metal rocks program is back for its 16th year.
The program, coordinated by the Skills, Trades and Careers department of SD57, gives high school students practical experience operating pieces of heavy machinery and connects them with potential employers, primarily in the road-building industry.
“It’s an opportunity for our young people, usually Grade 11s and 12s, to get an idea, with some professional operators, how to operate upwards of 25 different pieces of machinery,” said Bruce Northrop, a career coordinator in youth work and trades for the school district in a news release. “Over the years we’ve added some welding. We do that as well.”
Students began safety training began yesterday (April 24) at the College of New Caledonia (CNC).
Participants also toured the CNC trades facilities and got a look at the new Kelly Road Secondary School construction site.
Following the initial training, students and professional operators will be on the Heavy Metal Rocks work site which is at the Pitman Asphalt gravel pit off Foothills Boulevard tomorrow and Friday of this week (April 26 and 27).
“We try to simulate a regular work day so we start at 7 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m.,” adds Northrop.
The program will carry over to the weekend with students working and wrapping things up during a half day on Saturday.
“What we’ve really noticed is all the interest from our partners, wanting to know if these kids are ready to be workers for them,” says Northrop. “That wasn’t always the case and now they want to know, ‘Are these kids going to be available to work for us?’ And we’ve had many kids over the years move up (into jobs).”