On April 12-15, School District 73 Trades and Transitions School hosted their 15th annual Heavy Metal Rocks event at the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc gravel pit. This yearly event provides opportunities for grade 11 and 12 students to explore careers as heavy equipment operators in a variety of industries, including mining. Throughout the program students receive certification in first aid, site safety, WHMIS, forklift operation, and aerial platform lift operation, followed by hands-on mentorship by professional operators.
As a long-time supporter of the event, New Afton contributed $7,500 through the Community Investment Program to help cover equipment rental and fuel costs, as well as two experienced operators to mentor students over the three-day hands-on event. Ron Hart and Rick Fortin attended, representing New Afton, and mentored a total of 32 students on the rubber tire loader and telehandler. When asked about this event, Ron was quick to share that he enjoys being a part of this educational experience. He went on to say that the best part of being involved in Heavy Metal Rocks is seeing the students learn and explore the different career opportunities that are available to them. Ron enjoys being able to talk about the mining industry, his role at New Afton, and is even able to reference his past experience operating equipment in other industries. While not all the students plan to pursue careers operating equipment, Ron likes that the event showcases the variety of career opportunities available in mining and says that a lot of students show interest in careers such as heavy-duty mechanics and engineering.
The 2023 Heavy Metal Rocks was the largest yet, with the total number of applications from students nearly doubling the number of seats available. To learn more about Heavy Metal Rocks, please visit the Trades and Transitions website or watch the Heavy Metal Rocks 2023 video here.