College of the Rockies Graduates New Class of Forestry Skills Students

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Image shows group of people standing with trees in the background
College of the Rockies Advanced Forestry Skills graduates celebrated the end of their 15-week program with friends and family on Friday, May 6. Also in attendance were instructors and program partners Jordy Garvin (far left) and Jody McInnis (second from right) from Stillwater Consulting; Program Coordinator, Sara Moulton (far right); Manager of Continuing Education/Contract Training at the College, Tracey Whiting (front left); Constituency Assistant to MLA Bill Bennett , Vicki Knudsen, (front second from left); Director of Continuing Education, Contract Training & Regional Operations at the College, Leah Bradish and Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation Contract and Partnership Agent Ann Jenson (front right).

College of the Rockies’ second intake of Advanced Forestry Skills program celebrated their graduation on Friday, May 6.

Funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, the Advanced Forestry Skills program provides group-based, full-time work experience consisting of 15 weeks of classroom training, two weeks of practicum experience in forestry and a minimum of two-weeks of follow-up job search support.

Participants learn about a broad range of subjects, including tree identification, silviculture, brush saw and chainsaw operation, plant identification, leadership and Level 3 first aid. The work experience students participate in help them to prepare for careers in the forestry sector in such jobs as junior field technicians, chainsaw operators, research assistants or silviculture surveyors.

Kirsten Murrell is part of the graduating class.  She had been working in the Alberta oilfields and was looking to return home to Cranbrook and to find a more stable career.  Having completed both her Welding levels C and B at the College, she was anxious to return to take the Advanced Forestry Skills program.

“I would highly recommend the Advanced Forestry program as well as any of the trades,” she says. “I did all my welding training at the College and I refused to go elsewhere.  I have always had a great experience at the College and, because it is small, you can get personalized help when you need it.”

Kirsten is hopeful that the experience she received in her work placement, along with the opportunity to network in the industry, will result in her finding a full-time position in her new career quickly.  She is currently fielding job offers to find the right position for her.

Having received additional funding from the Ministry of Social Development and Social innovation, 12 additional participants – including five women – began the program’s third intake on April 18.

Learn more about other College of the Rockies Contract Training opportunities at cotr.ca/contract-training.