School District 60 high school students recently got a chance to see what it’s like to work with heavy machinery.
During the last week of May, 16 students from Grades 11 and 12 were trained on road construction, pipeline, and logging equipment as part of Project Heavy Duty.
"We set up four stations that are very representative of the oilfield or the logging industry,” said Richard Koop, the program’s coordinator. “There’s an operator with every piece of equipment, experienced operators, and they train the students one-on-one on each piece of heavy equipment. At the end of the week they’ll have operated every piece of equipment on our site ... We try to set it up as close to the real thing as we can.”
With the exception of a fake pipeline installation, the job was real work done for a property owner on a piece of land in the southwest part of town.
“It gives them a little bit of a start and a heads up about what a career might be like in the industry,” said Koop. “(When they look for jobs) they come with a certain amount of training as to how you start a machine, how do you service and maintain it, how do you operate it safely.”