SD73’s 16th Annual Heavy Metal Rocks

Posted On Friday April 12, 2024
Heavy Metal Rocks
Naomi St. Savard, Grade 12 student at Valleyview Secondary School with Ron Collins, HMR Program Chair and Principal of Logan Lake Elementary-Secondary School.

The Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education is committed to the Career Development Priority to ensure that students explore diverse learning experiences in real world occupations.

Heavy Metal Rocks is an annual event for grade 11 and 12 students who apply to take part in learning about operational aspects of running heavy equipment in the field. The Heavy Metal Rocks Program in SD73 is celebrating its 16th year in operation. The program provides opportunities for students to explore career choices as heavy equipment operators in a variety of industries.

This year 32 grade 11 and 12 students from SD73 will gain experience operating heavy machinery with one-to-one guidance and mentorship from a certified operator. Students also receive certifications in first aid, construction site safety, WHMIS, forklift operation, and aerial platform lift operation.

Over the course of the program, students started with the experience of applying to a job, by submitting an application and then receiving a formal interview. There are several days of training prior to coming up to the pit that must be completed.

On Wednesday, students were welcomed to the on-site portion of the program by Logan Lake Principal Ron Collins, program chair, and received a safety orientation from Caity Klaudt, Prevention Safety Officer for Worksafe BC. Half of the group then attended the CVSE Weigh Scales in Kamloops for a presentation and low-bed demonstration, while the other half of the group toured Inland Kenworth. The day ended with an orientation of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Gravel Pit which serves as the worksite from Thursday through Saturday.

During these days, students rotate through 16 stations associated with road construction and forestry. At each of these stations students get hands-on experience operating heavy equipment such as excavators, rock trucks, bulldozers, graders, loaders, processors, portable sawmills, rock drills, packers, skid-steers, screening plants, vacuum trucks and cranes. Students also receive instruction from the BC Wildfire Service and learn how to work a Telehandler. Each morning begins with a site safety meeting at 7:30 am, and students work on-site until 4:30 pm.

Bobby-Raye Farrow, Grade 12 Barriere Secondary School student shared, “Heavy Metal Rocks is a great learning opportunity and a great place to make new connections for potential jobs. It's a great opportunity to actually try out real machines with experts. I recommend to anybody thinking of going into operating or even if they are unsure about how to use heavy duty equipment to try HMR.”

Ron Collins explained, “HMR gives students the opportunity to get hands-on experience operating heavy equipment from the construction and forestry industry. It exposes students to various careers such as Heavy Equipment Operator, and several other unconventional trades. Students are mentored on a one-to-one ratio with experienced equipment operators who also speak to the job opportunities available. The excitement of the students and the trainers makes the extensive organization all worthwhile in partnership with industry.”

This program is a valuable resource to address our growing skilled trades labour shortage. The program is made possible via the donations and volunteer efforts of 120 companies and sponsors within our community. SD73 greatly appreciates and values their partnership.

The final celebration takes place at the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Gravel Pit on Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 1:00 pm, where we will see the results of the rich learning and hear from students and staff about this wonderful opportunity.

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