FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The 19th annual School District 60 Project Heavy Duty kicked off earlier this week at the new Parkwood Southlands development site near 116th Street.
The project selects 16 students within the school district to receive experience operating heavy machinery and equipment.
According to North Peace Secondary School teacher and project coordinator Jeff Mayer, students must complete an application and possess a driver’s license to be selected.
“We have experienced, professional operators giving tutorials to help them learn how to use the equipment,” said Mayer. “Then, the students go off and do real work.”
Operators teach and supervise the students operating multiple types of equipment, including bulldozers, excavators, graders, packers, and rock trucks.
Mayer says Project Heavy Duty is important because it gives students a “real, hands-on opportunity to learn.”
“They’re not just learning the equipment operation,” said Mayer. “They’re learning about safety. They learn about different opportunities within the industry, where operators are also recruiting.”
One of Project Heavy Duty’s goals is to inspire students to choose careers within the community.
“Project Heavy Duty is growing our own,” said Mayer.
“This is a community project, so the community is aiding students and their future to be able to build a future here. It’s absolutely pivotal.”
Mayer says Project Heavy Duty wouldn’t be possible without the support of local businesses.
“We could not do this without the help of all of our sponsors and without Fort St. John as a whole pitching in,” said Mayer.
This year’s Project Heavy Duty will come to a close on Friday.