The log yard to Houston Forest Products is blocked as the last load of logs is in the yard. The mill is scheduled to start a phased shut down on May 9.

The log yard to Houston Forest Products is blocked as the last load of logs is in the yard. The mill is scheduled to start a phased shut down on May 9.

Houston develops trades training opportunities

HSS is renovating their autoshop to a multi-use facility for trades and NWCC is partnering to bring programs to Houston.

More trades training will be offered in Houston this fall.

Houston Secondary School is renovating their autoshop into a multi-use facility for trades, said HSS Principal Scott Jackson.

Northwest Community College and HSS are partnering to offer Millwright Foundation Level One Training to both adults and high school students next September, Jackson said.

NWCC is also looking at other courses for the upcoming months, including Mineral Processing Operator, Heavy Equipment Operator, Class One driver training, and other short ticket courses that enhance employability, said NWCC Regional Director Regina Saimoto.

“Several HFP employees have been successful in obtaining their adult dogwood since the announcement of the mill closure, and we continue to work with individuals to help them get their dogwood or to meet specific entry requirements for programs,” Saimoto said.

NWCC also continues to offer online and distance programs like Applied Business Technology, Information Computer Technology, University Credit, and Business Administration. They also support learners taking distance courses from other institutions, Saimoto said.

“I feel we are in a good position to respond to the needs of the community during this time of transition. The NWCC Learning Centre has an active and informed advisory committee to help us identify the training that is needed in the community.

“We are working very closely with School District 54 and industry to ensure that we can provide innovative and timely training.

“What is key for us is to have accurate information on what training people are looking for, if we have sufficient demand to bring the training to Houston, and what the timelines are,” Saimoto said.

NWCC can also offer mobile trades trailers, she said.

Buses will also be available for Houston students to access programs in Smithers, such as the Environmental Monitoring Assistant program at the Smithers NWCC campus in the fall.

“School District 54 is also planning to offer a Foundations Level One Professional Cook program in Houston next February,” Jackson said.

The HSS autoshop renovations are beginning immediately, with completion scheduled for this summer.

The renovations include adding a shop entrance and shop washrooms, and are being done in partnership with NWCC and local industry.

“I continue to be amazed at the resilience of Houston. There are many people in this community with passion and drive to see the community weather this period of transition.  The willingness to work together and find solutions is astounding.  NWCC is committed to be part of these solutions for Houston.

“It is important for us to know who would like to take what program as soon as possible so we can advocate to bring the most beneficial programs to the community,” Saimoto said.