Students introduced to careers in forestry

It’s fair to say that opportunities for jobs and careers in the forestry sector have never been more numerous. And Slave Lake is one of the more active and robust forestry economies in the province. So it’s not surprising to see industry, government and schools getting together to promote those jobs and careers.

Not for the first time, a forestry-focused job fair was held in Slave Lake, at Northern Lakes College. Area high school students heard about careers as millwrights, loggers, drivers, process operators, foresters, trades of many types and much more in the five-hour event held on March 8.

According to MJ Munn-Kristoff of the Lesser Slave Forest Education Society (LSFES), the project is a joint effort, with the involvement of the four big forest products companies operating locally, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, the LSFES as well as Northern Lakes College, Portage College and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Also involved were the career coaches from the High Prairie School Division.

One of those coaches, Chantel Campsall of Roland Michener School, says the career fair is a great way to open up doors for the Grade 9 students who participated. There’s a lot out there that most of them wouldn’t even be aware of, she says, and navigating into career paths can be quite bewildering without help.

Tony McWhannel, the manager of Slave Lake Pulp, says his and the other mills are ‘all-in’ when it comes to events such as the career fair. He says he’s known (or known of) people who have lived in Slave Lake for years and aren’t even aware of the existence of the Mitsue mills!

Students from Slave Lake schools, plus Smith and Kinuso participated in the fair.

Sarah Kristoff of Tolko talks to a group of Roland Michener School Grade 9 students about the great variety of careers in woodland operations with forest products companies.
Representatives from three northern Alberta colleges talk to students about programs that can lead to careers in the foreset industry.
Emma Vessey of Roland Michener School tries out a ‘flash suit’ that Tolko power engineers have to wear on certain jobs.

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