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Industrial mechanic training comes to CNC Vanderhoof

The College of New Caledonia will have a new foundation industrial mechanic (millwright and machinist) program to Vanderhoof starting in February 2023, helping students gain the skills to access in-demand and well-paying trades.

According to BC’s Labour Market Outlook, there will be 2,790 expected job openings for the sector from 2021 to 2031. The program’s launch is a full-circle moment for the program’s instructor, Patrick Baker, as he was once a CNC student himself.

Baker discovered his love of mechanics later in life, initially pursuing a career as a secondary school educator. His new path led him to CNC’s industrial mechanic program in Prince George as a student, then onto a successful career at Canfor. When Baker got the call to help create the program in Vanderhoof, he jumped at the opportunity to train the next generation.

“One thing certified millwrights do is we mentor apprentices, and I’ve been doing that since I got certified. Teaching is a natural next step,” said Baker. “Before now, everyone from Vanderhoof and outlying towns in this area had to travel to Prince George to be trained. Now, we have this beautiful campus that I was able to set up from the ground up, so I’m very invested in this.”

This is the first trades foundation program to make use of the Vanderhoof campus, which opened its doors in 2021.

“We’re excited to have this opportunity to bring industrial mechanic training to Vanderhoof, and to make the most of our new campus in the community,” said Dr. Chad Thompson, CNC’s vice president: academic. “Access to education is a key part of CNC’s plans to open doors for learners and help create exciting futures alongside them.”

Through the six-month foundation course, students will develop valuable skills required to maintain, install, and repair industrial equipment including how to safely utilize lathes, milling machines, grinders and more. Students will then use these skills to acquire apprenticeships and continue their training with CNC until they are Red Seal Certified.

“Now’s the time to pursue a trade,” said Baker. “There are going to be plenty of job opportunities at the end, and there are many different specialty routes you can take after you become a tradesman. The industrial mechanic program covers so many different aspects of trades, so it will open a lot of doors.”

The inaugural Vanderhoof program begins in February of 2023. Additional offerings are available at the Quesnel campus in spring, and Prince George in the fall. To learn more and apply, check out the Industrial Mechanic program.

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