A group of students from Nisga’a Education and Skills Training (NEST) have benefited from a new emergency worker program which in turn will benefit local industry and trades from not having to recruit employees from outside of the province.
“We are lacking high angle rope rescue skills in the region and we would rather have locals trained than recruit out of the area,” Carmen Adams, Employment Advisor for NEST said.
The program was offered to those unemployed or under-employed and the skills are in such high need that five out of the six graduates had started employment within three days of finishing the first-time course, Adams said.
The demand for skills such as those taught in the course is extremely high because there are not enough qualified workers in the North Coast area James Webster North Coast B.C. area coordinator for Irwin’s Safety and Industrial Labour said. Irwin’s was the course facilitator and trainer.
“The rescue and confined space is highly sought after and is a specialized safety skill that local industry needs,” Webster said. “There are is a high demand for these skills. All over the province we have been bringing guys in from Calgary and out of province because there are not many local workers with the required training.
The six-week boot camp, which has an eight student cap, is divided up into individual certified components on emergency responder topics such as occupational first aid, high angle and confined space rescue, search and rescue, and bridging emergency responders, Carmen Adams Employment Advisor for NEST said.
The skills students are learning will be a benefit in the mining, oil and gas, forestry, construction and all local industries at a port related facilities Webster said.
“There is also a lot of seasonal wildfire work covered in the course. It is good to have those skills to bring to the local fire departments in the small remote communities. The skills are really valuable,” he said.
“It was a great confidence builder for the participants and great to see their transitions knowing they could do an intense course and pass,” Adams said noting the diversity of male and female students in the course was a benefit and good to see.