For many it’s an automatic action. Hop in a vehicle and go to a job interview. Better yet, hop in a vehicle and go to a job.
But in countless conferences, workshops and job fairs held in the region for the past three years where the puzzle has been how to connect northwestern residents with the jobs that could come from potential large-scale industrial activity such as liquefied natural gas, one nagging reality kept emerging – the lack of a driver’s licence is a significant barrier to finding and keeping a job.
It’s why a donation from pipeline builder TransCanada of $77,000 being funneled through Northwest Community College for the purchase of a vehicle, simulator and instruction so that people can obtain a licence is so important.
Students in the first class to take place in Moricetown outside of Smithers this spring will go through 32 hours of class and driving time for an ‘L’ designation in the expectation of receiving an eventual ‘N’.
The process of obtaining a licence in B.C. nowadays itself reveals the complexity of becoming part of a modern labour force.
And to be sure, the TransCanada money is part of its ongoing campaign to obtain broad-based community support for the pipelines it’s been hired to build for two potential liquefied natural gas plants.
But if employment is a ladder to be climbed, this program is a crucial first rung.