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SEM course draws students and industry praise

SMITHERS Northwest Community College's (NWCC) School of Exploration & Mining (SEM), in partnership with Blackhawk Drilling and the Smithers Exploration Group, recently wrapped up another successful offering of the Surface Diamond Driller's Helperÿprogram in Smithers. Another offering of this program is scheduled for May 28 to June 8 and spaces are still available. This popular course has drawn students from across Canada to learn the basic drill maintenance and operation skills required to work competently and safely as entry-level Drillers Helpers in the exploration industry. In 12 intensive days of learning, the program combines safety training with hands-on experience operating diamond drilling equipment.ÿThe unique program brings together industry expertise and training to produce job-ready graduates. "The Surface Diamond Driller's Helper course benefits greatly from community, First Nations and industry partnerships. The program provides unique opportunities for students to meet with potential employers through field trips and on-site visits and students have an employment advantage with the eight safety certifications they earn as part of the course," said Danielle Smyth, SEM Project Administrator. As with other NWCC and SEM programs, the Surface Drillers Helper program provides industry relevant training, and has resulted in direct recruitment by industry, such as Geotech Drilling of driller helper graduates since 2011. "The (SEM) graduates come with a familiarity of drilling work, they possess the required safety programming and they have an awareness of the drilling environment," said Fraser Deacon, Manager of Human Resources with Geotech Drilling. "We think all of these attributes are valuable for both the student and our company." In addition to Blackhawk Drilling and the Smithers Exploration Group, Highland Helicopters, Geotech Drilling, Hy-Tech Drilling, and Apex Drilling partnered with SEM to make the Surface Diamond Driller's Helperÿcourses a success. In partnership with Smithers Exploration Group and the Province of BC, SEM develops and delivers industry-responsive courses and programs. The SEM offers training in various areas of mining and exploration in the classroom, in bush-camp settings and on contract in communities or as customized programs in remote locations Since its inception in 2004, the school has graduated more than 850 students, and 83 percent of grads have either found work or returned to school. In recognition of BC Mining Week the NWCC Smithers Campus is hosting f the first annual Exploration & Mining Community Expo on Thursday, May 17 from 10am to 3pmThis free and public event will focus on outreach to high school students to raise awareness of the range of academic and career opportunities in Northwest BC in the Exploration and Mining industries. Check out interactive displays, equipment demonstrations (such as new simulators), an industry fair, information sessions about careers and training opportunities, hands-on demonstrations of skills used in the exploration and mining industries, tours to Ganokwa Camp and more! In addition, from 4-8pm, NWCC will recognize the generous donations of four industry partners that helped SEM buy a drill core shack for use as a mobile teaching lab to deliver training in communities across Northwest BC and Canada.

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