NIC will offer a tuition-free forestry training program in Port Hardy, thanks to a one-time grant to support people affected by the economic downturn on the North Island.

Only five seats remain for the Coastal Forest Resource program, which begins Aug. 24.

The training is funded by the BC Ministry of Advanced Education. The program aligns with the BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint.

Students learn firefighting, resource management, clearing, map reading, orienteering and GPS navigation in the field and in class over four months. The program also includes a practicum with a local employers.

Graduates qualify for entry-level careers as forestry field assistants, compasser /timber cruiser assistants, wildfire suppression crew members, junior layout engineers, tree planters and more.

“NIC is proud to offer community-relevant skills training needed to help North Island residents transition to successful careers,” said North Island College president John Bowman.

The Coastal Forest Resource program enhances workers existing qualifications and helps them find in-demand work on the North Island. The BC Truck Loggers Association and Canada-BC Labour Market Office project 4,650 job openings in coastal forestry and logging operations during the next 10 years. Last year alone, the North Island Employment Job Board posted 353 forestry-related job postings.

Students should come prepared with caulk boots, rain gear, a high visibility vest, a hard hat, and a $25 administration fee. Additional gear is provided.

Coastal Forest Resource program is one of four reduced-tuition programs or course series NIC will offer in the Mount Waddington region summer and fall. This September, a $425 Resource Industry Certification course series in Port Hardy will provide residents with the most commonly required resource industry certifications. Two other regional programs, marine training and a building service worker program, started in July and August.

For more information and to register, contact Wendy Samaroden at 1-888-293-3177 ext. 7728 or email wendy.samaroden@nic.bc.ca. To register in person, visit the Mount Waddington regional campus in Port Hardy.

For more information on NIC programs visit www.nic.bc.ca.