On May 8th, the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce hosted the Open House of the Trade Routes training facility in the Rescan parking lot in Tumbler Ridge.
The Trade Routes facility is a mobile unit that houses tools and machinery to help aid instructors and students in the trade industry. Some of the classes that will be taught in the unit will benefit future electricians, welders, pipe fitters, steamfitters, plumbers, and millwright persons within Aboriginal and northern communities in British Columbia (BC).
The province provided $1.5 million to the Industry Training Authority (ITA) to purchase the magnificent 53-foot-long trailer.
ITA felt that employers within the province cannot find enough skilled workers to meet their needs. This is especially true in Aboriginal and northern communities.
Scotty Raitt and Melissa Egan represented ITA at the site on May 8th in Tumbler Ridge.
Raitt said that a steering committee ensured that Trade Routes were developed in keeping with each community, industry, and learner interests. The committee represents several organizations who prepare the presentations and training for each community.
Egan said that the introductory tour began on March 28th in Prince George, BC, and ends on May 28th in Dease Lake, BC. During this time, Egan and Raitt will have visited more than 20 communities. The facility, which is booked until November 2008 for training, will begin with Fort Nelson in June.
Some Tumbler Ridge Secondary High School (TRSS) students attended the event and were shown a power point presentation ?The Skilled Life?. The presentation is an introduction to trades as a career. A pamphlet was provided which directs high school students to a website that shows a guide for a career in trades. Egan said that the website, www.theskilledlife.com, also offers prizes like MP3 players, laptops, and digital cameras for interested participants.
Raitt explained that the trailer and the equipment inside are provided to the communities for training. An instructor must be hired within each community for training since there are no instructors that travel with the unit.
The trailer can accommodate 12 students per session and features welding, plumbing, and electrical equipment, drill presses, a threading machine, tools and much more. Egan indicated that there is a satellite feed within the unit for an instructor from one area such as Prince Rupert to instruct a class that is being held in an entirely different community.
The tool crib was magnificent. The tools were housed in giant slide out cases that are locked when not in use. Raitt explained that each tool is bar coded for inventory control. ?These tools are brought from one community to another with no one to take inventory, so this is a way to keep stock?, he said.
Egan said that for travelling, the unit will fold up from 22 feet wide to 8 feet 6 inches. This is quite amazing since the unit can hold so much at one time when its width is fully expanded.
Some of the communities where the Trade Routes trailer will be presented to in northern BC are: Burns Lake, Dawson Creek, Dease Lake, Fort Nelson, Fort St. James, Fort St. John, Fraser Lake, Hazelton, Houston, Hudson?s Hope, Kitimat, Mackenzie, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, Smithers, Terrace, Tumbler Ridge, and Vanderhoof.
The Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce would like to thank ITA for providing the Trade Routes facility to the Tumbler Ridge community. They would also like to thank the community for the excellent turnout and Tags for providing the coffee and donuts.