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NWCC's School of Exploration & Mining in full swing and changing lives

SMITHERS - Some educational programs are hyped as being life-changing learning experiences, however few actually ever deliver on that promise. Yet the students at Northwest Community College's (NWCC) School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) enrolled in this summer's Workforce Exploration Skills Training (WEST) program are saying that is exactly what they are experiencing at Ganokwa Camp, north of Smithers. "I'm really glad I found this program, because before coming here I felt kind of lost," says Giselle Larouche from Penticton. "This has been the most fun I've had at school. It's beautiful out here!" Larouche adds that she is excited about the opportunities this program is providing her. WEST is a seven-week bush camp training program based at SEM's Ganokwa Camp north of Smithers, which features hands-on training of employable skills for careers in exploration, mining and other resource industries. Students are into their fifth week of training and have many miles of walking in the mountains and nights under canvas tents behind them. "I love camp life," says Nicole Cromarty from Terrace. "My favorite experience so far is making vests and moccasins in the cultural tent and playing volleyball after classes with new friends. We're like a family already." Cromarty says she has also gained a ton of self-confidence through the WEST program. "I think this program helps you further your life, with all the outdoor skills you learn and the driving course to help you get your license. Not to mention you can make a lot of money!" Felicia Isaac Johnson from Vanderhoof says she has enjoyed meeting new friends and getting physically fit from all the hikes. "Everyone has been so helpful, and I'm learning a lot. I would recommend this program to anyone." SEM is accepting applications for its upcoming Mining Exploration Field Assistant Aug. 18-25 and the next WEST program, which runs from Aug. 25-Oct. 14.ÿThis program is provided at no cost for eligible participants, with funding provided through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement.ÿ For more information, please visit sem.nwcc.bc.ca or call Tony at 877 277-2288 ext 5831.

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