Local elementary and high school students got some exposure to operating heavy equipment over a two-day event spearheaded by the school district, College of the Rockies, City of Cranbrook and WorkSafe B.C.
With the support of the local business community, heavy equipment such as excavators, bobcats and graders were donated for use at a Cranbrook public works yard, where a few dozen high school students got the chance to get behind the controls.
Brian Conrad, the Regional Transition Coordinator within the Student and Enrolment Services department, said Project Heavy Duty is a chance for students to get up close and personal with the machines and to learn how to be safe around them.
“Project Heavy Duty only works because of an extraordinary partnership between public and private organizations—Mount Baker Secondary School, College of the Rockies, WorkSafe BC, and the City of Cranbrook,” said Conrad. “Without any one of those four partners, this would be impossible to pull off.
“The other key ingredient is the very generous contributions that local industries and business make in lending the equipment and operators, who are training the kids, for two whole days. It’s an extraordinarily generous offering that makes this possible.”
There are two goals and outcomes that Conrad hopes to achieve for Project Heavy Duty, in regards to the high school students who get the opportunity to work on the equipment, added Conrad.
“One, is to generate a culture of safety in youth, so when they get into the workforce, safety is embedded in their practices and thinking,” he said. “The other is that they learn, through this experience, a better work ethic, not only in terms of being on time, but better listening skills, ability to ask questions about how to operate things before they make any mistakes and developing a sense of hustle and positive attitude towards work.”
Conrad wishes to acknowledge the following businesses and organizations for their support of Project Heavy Duty: Hummel Contracting Ltd, Okanagan Audio Solutions, Lightburn Contracting Ltd, Fiorentino Bros Contracting Ltd, Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting, Remcan Projects Ltd, Teck, Finning, Great West Equipment, Sandor Rental Equipment Ltd, WorkSafe BC, City of Cranbrook, SMS Equipment, College of the Rockies, BWC, Inland Kenworth Parker Pacific, SD5, BC Hydro, FR Rentals, and Kootenay Communications Ltd.