THE COMPANY building the Northwest Transmission Line is flying a first group of northwestern residents to Alberta early next month for on-the-job training.
This first group of 13 will be followed by a second group of 13, on a rotation of three weeks in and one out at a Valard project in Fort McMurray.
The plan is that by spring, when work on the Northwest Transmission Line is scheduled to start, Alberta-based Valard will have a solid core of workers familiar with power line work, says company BC vice president Graham McTavish.
“What we want is people who we can keep for apprenticeships and people who can develop into a leadership role,” said McTavish of the workforce the company will have in the northwest for the two-year transmission line construction timeline.
“By that time you’ll see some and steel and other material starting to arrive in the Terrace area,” he said of the construction start in the spring.
Valard is one of the country’s largest utility construction companies with expertise in electrical transmission and distribution networks, sub stations, renewable energy technology and telecommunications.
One of its hallmarks in working in rural and remote areas is building relationships with First Nations and it’s doing the same along the 355km long Northwest Transmission Line route.
The majority of the people hired are First Nations and the company has several other First Nations people already signed up as apprentices.
McTavish said hiring local makes as much business sense as it does people sense. “With us we want to hire local first and BC second,” he said of Valard’s employment plans.
Still, the company will need to bring in certain of its own people because of their skills and experience, McTavish added.
“We’re going to have a pretty good mixture of people,” he said.
Aside from employment impacts, local service businesses will also benefit from Valard’s purchase of goods and material.
McTavish says Valard will have a peak workforce approaching 200 people working along the transmission line route from Terrace to Bob Quinn on Hwy37 North.
The company has bought an existing construction camp at Bob Quinn for its northern base and is in talks with Kitsumkalum to open one near Terrace.