April 24, 2019 --
Heavy Metal Rocks is about to rumble into action.
The program, coordinated by the Northern Regional Construction Association, 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 School District No 57, one of the partners in Heavy Metal Rocks. "Over the years we've added some welding. We do that as well."
Other partners in Heavy Metal Rocks are the College of New Caledonia and WorkSafe BC.
Safety training began on Wednesday, April 24 at CNC. Participants also toured the CNC trades facilities and got a look at the new Kelly Road Secondary School construction site in the Hart Highway area of Prince George.
Following the initial training, students and professional operators will be on the Heavy Metal Rocks work site – the Pitman Asphalt gravel pit off Foothills Boulevard – Thursday and Friday of this week.
"We try to simulate a regular work day so we start at 7 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m.," Northrop said.
The program wraps up with a half day at the site on Saturday, April 27.
Heavy Metal Rocks is now into its 16th year and has proven itself a successful program.
"What we've really noticed is all the interest from our sponsors, wanting to know if these kids are ready to be workers for them," Northrop said. "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)."