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NWCC students repurpose buses

Terrace, BC, April 23, 2014 – The Heavy Duty Equipment Technician/Commercial Transport (HDET) Foundation program at Northwest Community College (NWCC) recently received three decommissioned buses from Farwest Fuels’ Kitimat operations.

Students are participating in a unique project where they are building a training aid with bus parts. They recently cut the roof off the back of a bus to remove its engine and will be seeking the help of welding students to mount the engine onto a platform. This training aid will serve as a practical tool for future students to learn about engine mechanics. Other components from the buses will also be used for hands-on training, including the transmission, differential, steering box and electrical system.

“This program wouldn’t be where it is today, without the donations of used heavy duty equipment and commercial transports that NWCC received from various companies,” said Mike Kerbrat, HDET instructor. “Every piece of equipment has been an excellent learning tool for our students.”

Terrace Totem Ford also donated a decommissioned 25-passenger bus to the HDET Foundation program. Two students, both from New Aiyansh, then took on the challenge of servicing the bus to be fully operational.

“It was a tough project, but it was fun,” said Shane Tait, who had a carpentry labourer job in Vancouver before starting the HDET Foundation training last fall. “The best part was when we started the engine after our work was done. That was a good feeling.”

Julian Patsey, Shane’s teammate on that project, has accepted an offer to begin a HDET Level 1 Apprenticeship at Avanti Kitsault Mine after he completes his Foundation training this spring.

“I worked in a mining camp one summer and got to see repair work being done on heavy machinery,” said Patsey. “I’ve wanted to be a mechanic since then.”

Last year Ridley Terminals Inc. donated several large pieces of industrial heavy equipment, which were instrumental to the launch of the HDET program. They are still widely used today for hands-on training.

About NWCC
Northwest Community College (NWCC) is an accredited post-secondary institution offering comprehensive education and training to 34 urban, rural and remote communities in northwestern BC. Through an innovative distributed learning model that includes nine campuses and learning centres, current technology, mobile units, and successful partnerships, NWCC brings relevant education and training directly to where it is needed. NWCC is a recognized leader in Aboriginal education where Aboriginal people make up roughly 40 per cent of the student body. NWCC celebrates the diversity of its northern and Aboriginal populations and reflects this in its programs, services and workforce. To learn more, visit


For more information contact:

Sarah Zimmerman
Director, Communications & Public Relations
Northwest Community College
office: 250.638.5494 or cell: 250.631.7654
1.877.277.2288 (Toll Free)

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