How to get free forestry training and certifications in Kamloops - InfoNews

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How to get free forestry training and certifications in Kamloops

Students spend their time between a classroom setting and doing hands-on work out in the field, according to program manager Brendan Flanagan.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Stillwater Consulting
August 30, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KAMLOOPS - A free program is available for those wishing to get into the foresty industry or advance their skillset further.

The Advanced Forestry Training program is a free 19-week course that offers training, hands-on field experience, and various certifications in hopes to expand the B.C. forestry sector.

About 80 people have graduated from the program that runs in Kamloops, Cranbrook, Nanaimo and Squamish. The program is run by Stillwater Consulting and has been running since 2015.

Kamloops is currently going through its first cohort of students, according to Heather McManus, marketing specialist with Stillwater Consulting.

McManus says the program is made possible through Work B.C. with federal and provincial funding. She notes $3.3 million from the B.C. Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction will help to carry on the continued learning program.

Brendan Flanagan, a program manager with Stillwater Consulting, says participants are able to access high-quality field training, education and multiple certifications through this free program.

The Advanced Forestry Training program offered by Stillwater Consulting welcomes applicants of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels.
The Advanced Forestry Training program offered by Stillwater Consulting welcomes applicants of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Stillwater Consulting

“We give them a really good gamut of forestry topics and a chance to certify at a very high level, and basically help them with work placement,” Flanagan says.

Although there are no skill requirements, those wishing to apply for the program must qualify for or be on unemployment insurance, be under or unemployed, and from the Kamloops area. The deadline for applications for the upcoming Kamloops course is Sept. 6.

“We have students with massive backgrounds who are just looking to sharpen up their skills... maybe they’ve been in the milling and manufacturing side of timber for a long time,” Flanagan says. “We've also had tonnes of success with people coming in with a blank slate who have no ties to foresty and no experience and that's totally fine. We've had a tremendous amount of success with all types of people.”

Flanagan says that the certificates offered through the program have been blended together in a way that cuts down on the length of study time. The 19-week program runs for eight hours a day, five days a week.

Many of the certificates covered would be difficult for the underemployed to acquire as they can be expensive, according to Flannagan. One of the certifications, Occupational First Aid Level 3, costs $750, according to Occupational Health and Safety.

“It's not just the financial considerations, it’s the consideration of time. If you were to piecemeal these certificates together there's no way you're getting it done in 19 weeks. We've done all the organization and got everybody together and created this perfect working schedule,” Flanagan says.

Flanagan says the program focuses on showcasing the various sectors of the forestry industry that might not be known to many. He says that many of the roles that could be taken after going through the program are focused on the outdoor work in the field.

“A lot of people don’t really have an understanding of what foresty industry is and there's this preconceived notion that maybe there's not enough work,” Flanagan says.

Flanagan highlights the diversity of jobs that can be acquired after, not just including the logging and millwork that he says most seem familiar with. He says the work done before and after logging are in high demand. Some of the jobs that could be acquired from the course include wildland firefighting, danger tree assessment, environmental technician, recreational trail building, tree planting, and equipment operating.

“A lot of the field roles are roles and tasks people didn't know existed. Frankly, we just have so many members of our community that are not in a foresty community or a foresty family so they don't just think of forestry as anything other than logging or the mill, but there's a lot of things that happen before or after,” Flanagan says.

Flanagan says there are 12 spots available for the upcoming program which runs from Oct. 21, 2019, through until March 13, 2020. You can find out more information and start the application process here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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