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New grads ecstatic about experiential learning at SEM

SMITHERS This program is life altering, says Cody Joseph, a 25 year-old graduate of Northwest Community Colleges (NWCC) School of Exploration & Mining. I havent graduated from anything in my life, and here I am today graduating. Joseph and 29 other students enrolled at the School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) have graduated from a first-of-its-kind program in northern BC. The Workforce Exploration Skills Training (WEST) program is a seven-week training program based at Ganokwa Camp, north of Smithers. The program features hands-on training of employable skills for careers in exploration, mining and other resource industries, and is provided at no cost to eligible participants through funding provided by the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Agreement. A Celebration of Learning ceremony was held Aug. 17 at Ganokwa Camp to honour the programs first graduating class. View the Celebration of Learning photo gallery here Dignitaries and delegates representing industry, communities, and First Nations were also in attendance at the celebration, providing words of support and encouragement, and presenting deserving students with a number of awards. Student award recipients and a sample of what they had to say at the Celebration of Learning: Mason Berg, Most Improved Student award: "Without this program, I'd be working as a dishwasher or who knows what, but with this program, I know I just won't have a job, but a career. I'm leaving camp a changed man." Conan Aukland, Highest Academic Standing award: "Thank you for all the support we've gotten from the staff. I'd also like to thank all the students for their support. I'm really proud of everybody - we accomplished a lot, without your support, I wouldn't have been able to do this. Thank you very much." Owen Nisyok, Prospector's and Developer's Association of Canada (PDAC) $500 award for the Best All Around Student: "The best moments were when we were at the top of the mountains, smiling at each other, saying, 'We did this!' This is an amazing feat in our lives." Beatrice West, Most Inspirational Student award. At the conclusion of the celebration, Judi LOrsa, Grant Administrator from the Smithers Exploration Group addressed the students: You are leaving here today armed with new technical knowledge, health and safety skills, knowledge of best practices, environmental awareness, and a better understanding of the modern minerals industry. I would like to congratulate you on your achievements and welcome you to our industry. The second and final intake of the WEST program starts Aug. 25 at Ganokwa Camp. Find the School of Exploration & Mining (SEM) online or on Facebook for more information about upcoming courses and programs.

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