PORT HARDY—Ten students in North Island College’s first North Island Industrial Employment Preparation program were fêted — and another honoured posthumously — in a combination graduation and luncheon at the school’s Mount Waddington Campus Feb. 27.
Bev Anderson, Charlie Johnson, Delia Price, James Wallas, Allen “Jo-Jo” Wilson, Michael Wilcox, Theresa Williams, William Obetkoff, Alex Hunt and Andrea Wilson were recognized for completing the five-month course, in which they visited North Island worksites and received training from both NIC faculty and visiting instructors across a spectrum of industrial jobs.
The program was designed to connect employers with prospective entry-level workers.
Another student, Molly Robertson, died of a sudden illness less than two weeks before the completion ceremony and was recognized in an emotional ceremony.
Certificates were presented by NIC instructor Diane Chisholm and the college’s recently installed Regional Director, Gregory Batt.
“You all have the tools,” NIC program coordinator Naida Brotchie told the students after they were presented certificates of completion from the course. “We just helped you a little on the way.”
Hunt — one of two students who have already been employed as a result of participation in the program — and Andrea Wilson were unable to attend the celebration, which was attended by family members and close friends of the “grads”.
Alex Wilson of Orca Sand and Gravel, one of the worksites visited by the students, made a brief presentation. Allen Wilson provided gifts of original aboriginal art to his fellow students and to NIC staff before the students and guests broke for a buffet-style lunch.
The program operated in partnership with the North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society of Campbell River, though it was open to non-aboriginal students. Anita Smith of NVIATS attended and made a brief speech before each of the students was invited to speak to the audience.
“This group was like its own little community,” said Brotchie. “It was a real team-building program.”