Prince Rupert businesses needed to take on apprentices

The Coastal Pathways Partnership hope more Prince Rupert businesses do their part to keep students in the region.

Although the Coastal Pathways Partnership is excited to see the first cohort of students complete a course provided through the alliance, they hope more Prince Rupert businesses do their part to keep students in the region.

The partnership consists of Ridley Terminal Inc. (RTI), Northwest Community College (NWCC), School District 52, the Village of Metlakatla, the Prince Rupert Port Authority, British Gas, Smit Marine and Pacific Northwest LNG. The partnership offers two pre-apprenticeship programs that allow people in the region to train at home.

As 15 NWCC and Charles Hays Secondary School ACE-IT (Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training) students near the end of the Millwright Foundations Program, they will need to find an apprenticeship placement to get the needed hours of experience before moving on to the second level of academic millwright training.

“While [the Coastal Pathways Partnership] is very excited … the challenge will remain finding internships for the students. That will require industry to step up and be willing to take them on,” said Tina Last, chair of the Prince Rupert School District board of education.

“It’s a cause for celebration … But there is that piece. We do need industry to be as excited about these potential trades people in our community as we are.”

At this time Canadian Fish Company and the North Pacific Cannery are the lone two Prince Rupert businesses taking in millwright apprenticeships, with the exact number of placements available currently being unknown.

The Canadian Fish Company discussed starting off with two or three placements, with potential for more in the future, while the number of apprenticeships at the North Pacific Cannery is still being worked out.

“We’re in the initial stages of setting up the formal agreement with the cannery. That will all be flushed out fairly shortly,” said Larry White, NWCC interim vice-president of education.

White encourages more Prince Rupert enterprises to involve students in their businesses.

“We’re about to experience a boom the likes of which the province and this region have yet to experience … we need to support our learners in order to help keep them locally for the positions and jobs that are going to be opening up,” he said.

“It’s up to businesses who have Red Seal Journeymen Millwrights to hire these student apprentices and give them hands on experience on the job to allow them to get to the second level of training,” said Michelle Bryant, RTI corporate affairs manager, adding level two of millwright training will be provided when enough students have completed the first level of the apprenticeship program.

“In our pre-planning for the partnership, the college had anticipated two years of running the foundations program before there would be enough people for a level two class,” she said.

Fifteen more North Coast students are set to begin the Industrial Electrical Foundations Program, which will begin in February at Prince Rupert Middle School.