A PROPOSAL is being developed to train aboriginal people in the use of heavy duty equipment at a gravel operation near Gingolx.
The Swamp Point location is ideal, says Brad Mercer-Tait, one of the people who has put together the Northern Aboriginal Machinery School plan.
“We can host a school in a camp-like environment and train in a defined area,” said Mercer-Tait.
Swamp Point has been under development for years and is under the ownership of Portland Canal Aggregates Corporation and Highbank Resources Ltd. It has offices in Houston, BC.
There’s no firm start up date for the machinery school but Mercer-Tait hopes a first class of up to 45 students can be organized within a year.
And because Swamp Point is on the water, equipment and supplies can be moved in as needed by barge, he added.
“When you look at it, moving equipment by barge isn’t that expensive,” Mercer-Tait said.
Each course will run for six weeks.
Being able to work at a location like Swamp Point not only provides the school with a base but also helps its owners.
“We get to have a training course and they get someone to work at their site,” said Mercer-Tait.
Mercer-Tait said a training school with an aboriginal focus makes sense given the number of projects either underway or to start soon in areas of significant aboriginal population.
He’s also working on a mobile training program to go where students live.
One of the initial applications of the mobile program is selecting the students who will have the best chance for success, Mercer-Tait said.
“Our goal is to make everyone successful in the workforce training program,” he continued.
Mercer-Tait also said the practical portion of mobile training may also assist villages who need heavy duty equipment operators to prepare land for subdivisions, recreational or other facilities.