Kitimat Valley Institute Trades Centre

KVI prepares for Trades Centre opening and welcomes aspiring students

Aspiring skilled tradespeople now have a practical method of determining which trade they’d like to learn.

The not-for-profit Kitimat Valley Institute has refurbished the gym space in a former school it now occupies into a hands-on trades training centre.

Over the course of seven weeks, students will be able to experience the basics of the electrical, welding, pipefitting, plumbing and carpentry trades, says institute official Jodie Cook.

“They’ll also take safety training and come away with safety certification,” she said.

Cook said the institute and its sponsoring bodies, Rio Tinto and the Haisla First Nation, are excited about the trades introduction program.

“It looks just great,” she said of the refurbished gym space now taken up with work stations containing equipment for the trades introduction program.

Cook said the program will appeal to those who had been working on now-completed major projects in Kitimat such as Rio Tinto’s smelter modernization program and were intrigued by the various kinds of trades used on those projects.

“This is a very real opportunity to experience an introduction to those trades. This is quite a radical change,” said Cook.

Founded 10 years ago as a Made-in-Kitimat response to the need to provide employment and other training, the institute is housed in the former Alexander public school closed because of declining student enrolment.

“The vision was how to get people ready from long term employment and one of those ways is a trades focus,” said Cook.

The institute has offices in another location as well and employs up to 60 people, depending upon circumstances. That number includes a workforce it can provide for specific projects.

Other services include employment preparation, first aid training and drug and alcohol testing.

There’s an official opening of the trades centre taking place April 5. Among those present will be Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth and Haisla chief councillor Ellis Ross.