While much discussion around skilled labour needs in the Northwest focus on the trades, a group of engineers were in Prince Rupert last week to inform youth of the opportunities that will be coming in that profession.
Engineers Siobhan Holladay and Claire Wheeler visited Prince Rupert Middle School, Charles Hays Secondary School and the Coast Tsimshian Academy in Lax Kw’alaams, speaking to students and giving hands-on demonstrations of real world engineering applications. The presentations were brought to the region by Hatch, which offers engineering services for everything from mines and energy to infrastructure and construction, and Hatch Mott McDonald, which focusses more on municipal and government engineering projects, and Hatch social impact specialist Eleanor Gill said sessions like these are an important part of the company’s outreach program.
“Our vision is to inspire more youth to consider engineering as a career and foster more engineers from the region … it’s really about capturing their imagination and showing them what engineers can do,” she said, noting a career in engineering fits in with the money, variety of work and travel many young people envision as part of an ideal career.
“We would like to see a talent pool here for engineering and want to build personal relationships with promising youth so we can help them in any way we can with a career in engineering.”
Prince Rupert was the first stop of a northwest tour that will take the engineers to Kitimat and Terrace, and each presentation is tailored to the interests of the community. In Prince Rupert, demonstrations looked at water treatment and port materials handling.
“What our project is trying to do is to show them the practical and industrial application of what they are learning in the classroom,” said Gill.
Gill said students looking to enter the engineering sector need to focus on math and science courses, and prepare for a lot of work.
“It is difficult to become an engineer, so these students are going to need a lot of support,” she said, noting UBC is the main engineering school in the province and students will need good grades in math and science before attending.
“There are some big hurdles to overcome for sure.”