By Chadd Cawson
Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative
May may be the month to usually bring flowers, but for the College of the Rockies (COTR), it has brought success which, in turn, benefits the community. The College of the Rockies located on the unceded territories of the Secwépemc and Ktunaxa peoples and the land chosen as home by the Metis Peoples of BC, which runs along the Columbia River, made two exciting announcements last month. Their Trades Sampler program has formed a partnership with the Windermere District Farmers’ Institute (WDFI) which has benefited both parties, and Jhonna Lyn Valerio has been named the 2022 recipient of their Future Leaders Scholarship.
The Trades Sampler program is made up of twelve high school students in grades 11 or 12 from David Thompson High School and has been running on the Invermere campus for the past twenty years. “The Trades Sampler Program is able to hold its training in the Institute’s barn free of charge,” Invermere Campus Manager Michelle Taylor said in a press release last month. “In exchange, the students carried out repairs inside the building, improving its safety and functionality.
This 12-week program introduced students to 10 different trades: carpentry and finishing, plumbing, electrical, automotive, welding, heavy mechanics, industrial mechanic (fitter), saw filing, insulation installation and surveying. Students also earn a variety of industry certifications, including Professional First Aid Level 1, WHMIS, Fall Protection, and S100 Fire Suppression. WDFI, which hosts a farmer’s market every Wednesday outside the barn, couldn’t be happier with the repairs which included retrofitting hard-to-manage vendor windows with safer and more functional windows and insulating much of it. of the building.
“We are really pleased with all the work being done at the historic barn,” said Anne Rose Manager and WDFI member in a press release last month. “A big thank you to all of the trades students at the College and Trades Instructor Jesse Okros for his skills and management of this incredible project. Farmer’s Market vendors are excited to start this season with all the barn upgrades. »
This latest class of twelve students graduated on May 5 and applications are already coming in from various companies looking to hire them for entry-level positions. “We are thrilled to see the positive momentum that is building around this program and are grateful to be able to continue to have a great partnership with David Thompson High School, ITA, WDFI, Home Hardware and Canfor,” Taylor said. . The trades program has given back to the community and benefited in many ways. To name a few, include the small picnic tables they built for the Little Badgers Daycare Center of the Akisqnuk First Nation and the ramps for wheelchair accessibility downtown. of Invermere.
With the Columbia Valley being a hub for tourists and hospitality, what better way to benefit this community as well by creating future leaders in this field. Valerio who was named COTR Future Leaders Scholarship winner also received a check for $1,500. The two-year hospitality management degree program offered on the Invermere campus is a response to the high demand for hospitality management professionals in the region and provides hands-on hands-on experience in combination with study and business. Valerio’s teachers called her a hard worker and having fun in the classroom along with her academic excellence is why she was nominated for the Future Leaders Scholarship.
Valerio came to Canada from the Philippines and is in the final year of her program. In addition to keeping up with her schoolwork, Valerio is also secretary and auditor for the Hospitality Student Council and oversees planning and finances for on and off-campus events and works part-time at a local coffee shop and grocery store.
“I am deeply honored to receive this scholarship,” Valerio said in the announcement the college sent out last month. “It has become a passion for me to continue to develop my skills and abilities while striving to provide excellent service to others. This scholarship will help me pursue this goal and directly benefit the lives of others.
Valerio is moving full speed ahead as her future plans include working as a front desk clerk at a hotel where she will only develop her skills and abilities to lead and manage others. “It’s my biggest ambition to one day manage or operate my own hotel,” Valerio said. “My time at the College, combined with my professional background, will serve as a solid foundation for me. The Future Leaders Scholarship will also be of great help as I move forward.