Up to 24 eligible British Columbians will get skills and training to prepare them for jobs in the forest industry in a new Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the Government of British Columbia.

“This is the second intake of a great project running out of Kamloops,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Participants will learn job-specific skills and get the certificates they need to set them on a rewarding career path in the forest sector.”

The Province is providing more than $760,000 to Stillwater Consulting Ltd. to deliver skills and certification courses in two intakes of its Advanced Forestry Skills Training program in Kamloops.

During the project, participants will receive 16 weeks of occupational and employability skills training, three weeks of on-the-job work experience with local employers and two weeks of follow-up support to assist in their job search.

In addition to other learned skills, participants will be able to earn four different industry certificates: occupational first aid – level 3, basic chainsaw operator, basic fire suppression and safety – fire entrapment avoidance and pesticide applicator – agriculture general.

Past graduates of the program have gone on to become junior forestry technicians, wildland firefighters, equipment operators, silviculture surveyors and recreation trail builders.

“I’m pleased we can support students to gain skills and training to safely start their career in some of the great, family-supporting jobs in the forest sector,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Government is committed to building a sustainable forest sector that will support future generations of workers, and I encourage interested British Columbians to be part of this.”

Funding for this project is provided through the Project Based Labour Market Training stream of WorkBC’s CEP. CEP’s investments are targeted towards projects that support an inclusive economic recovery. CEP supports B.C. job seekers’ training and work experience leading to employment in available jobs, and aids businesses and communities to address labour market challenges. CEP invests $15 million annually in communities throughout B.C.

“The Advanced Forestry Skills Training program gives participants knowledge, skills and certifications sought out by the industry’s top employers,” said Aaron Byng-Hall, program director, Stillwater Consulting Ltd. “Our graduates go on to become forest technicians, environmental technicians, recreational trail builders, silviculture surveyors and wildland firefighters. The program provides opportunities to people who are looking to enter the industry or to expand their existing knowledge base; participants are taught both hard and soft skills that give them confidence to succeed in their chosen career path.”

Full-time, group-based classroom learning for the second intake starts on Monday, May 3, 2021, for 12 participants. Project activities run through to Sept. 24, 2021. Anyone interested in finding out about CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.