Image of young woman in safety vest out in the woods with a dog.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, at any moment. For Cranbrook resident Jennifer Snider, it was the news she was pregnant with her son that motivated her to pursue a career she was passionate about, proud of, and that would help her better support her growing family.

Recalling that a friend had completed the Advanced Forestry Skills program at College of the Rockies and had found immediate employment, Jen decided she would follow a similar path to jump-start her career in the forestry industry.

“I loved every minute of it,” says Jen. “The program focuses a lot on the actual hands-on work done by resource techs in the field. That training allowed me to expand my career and gave me multiple job opportunities.”

The Advanced Forestry Skills Training program, offered in partnership with Stillwater Consulting and the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, is an example of the industry-driven training offered by the Contract Training and Continuing Education department at College of the Rockies. As part of the curriculum, students are required to complete 80 hours of work experience.

“The work experience component encouraged me to research the local forestry companies and helped me decide what area of work I wanted to specialize in,” Jennifer adds.

Jen completed her work experience with VAST Resource Solutions Inc., a natural resource management and engineering consulting firm based in Cranbrook, BC. Upon graduating from the Advanced Forestry Skills Training program, she was offered a permanent position. She is now in her third season with VAST as a Junior Forest Technician.

“Jen Snider has been a great addition to our field team,” says Jeff Westover, Operations Manager for VAST Resource Solutions.  “She excels in plant identification and in completing silviculture prescription data collection. Our firm employs up to 45 natural resource workers throughout the year, and during peak season we have a need for skilled seasonal/junior staff. We have hired more than a dozen graduates of the Forestry Skills Training programs over the last seven seasons, and I am continually impressed with their capability to fit right into a technical work environment.”

Going forward, Westover sees a continued relationship between the College’s Advanced Forestry Skills program and VAST Resource Solutions.

“VAST will continue to require skilled employees that can step into technical positions and will continue to hire graduates of training programs provided by Stillwater Consulting, as it provides us with some level of assurance that the basic field skills we require are there,” says Westover. “I feel that this program will further prepare students for careers in forestry and expose them to more practical situations that will be encountered when on the job.”

Learn more about the Advanced Forestry Skills Training program.