Is a question that has vexed our young generations throughout time. Nothing beats hands-on experience to help figure out the answer. That's especially true in fields like construction and heavy equipment operations, making programs like "Heavy Metal Rocks" essential.
What is the Heavy Metal Rocks Program?
The Heavy Metal Rocks Program provides students with an opportunity to explore a career in operating heavy machinery. This program gives selected students the opportunity to learn about and operate heavy machinery. Every year students in school district 73 go through an application and interview process to be one of the 26 students selected for the program.
Industry professionals such as Jamin Price, Lorne Greenall, and Shane Bricker know investing time now will positively impact these kids and our industry in the future.
These three SMS Equipment employees donate their time and expertise to the Heavy Metal Rocks program every year, individually playing a vital role. Jamin sits on the Heavy Metal Rocks program committee, Shane teaches the students about safety, and Lorne works behind the scenes helping where and when he is needed.
"Once SMS Equipment was officially involved in supporting the Heavy Metal Rocks program, I was asked by program personnel to sit on the committee. Heavy Metal Rocks is such a great program. I knew I wanted to get more involved."
Jamin has been on the committee since SMS Equipment was first approached for donation 11 years ago. The program resonated with him, and he knew contributing to the program personally was worthy.
Jamin Price, Product Support Sales Representative in Williams Lake, sits on the Heavy Metal Rocks Program Committee. He thinks the application process the students have to go through is excellent practice for the real world. They have to have high grades and go through an interview process conducted by the school district, which gives them job interview skills," says Jamin. "Then the students get to go out and run different types of equipment."
During the actual 2-day event, Jamin donates his time to ensure the event is as successful as possible. "This program opens students' perspectives on equipment operations. The program introduces them to the equipment and allows them to start making industry connections," says Jamin.
Before the students can begin learning the ins and outs of operating heavy machinery, Shane Bricker donates his time to ensure safety is at the forefront. As an Occupational Health, Safety, and Environment Advisor located in Prince George, he teaches the students the importance of respecting the equipment's power on day one of the program.
Safety education is vital when operating heavy machinery, and Shane is happy to be able to do his bit. Shane likes what this program does for students, introducing them to the equipment and getting their foot in the door of the equipment world.
"It's a great program that I enjoy being a part of," says Shane. "My part happens on the first day of the event, and I teach the students about field level risk assessment (FLRA). I break their job down into steps and go through all the things that can cause them harm and how they can mitigate the risks."
Lorne Greenall, a Service Supervisor in Williams Lake, feels personally connected to this program. He grew up in Williams Lake and knows what this program means to the students who participate in it.
"The expression on their faces when they get to operate the machinery is why I participate every year," says Lorne. "Operating the equipment is so exciting for them, and it's awesome to see be part of an organization that values investing in our communities."
Lorne participates behind the scene, helping unload equipment, fueling machines, handing out swag, and engaging with the students. He loves interacting with the students and encourages them to consider operating heavy machinery as a trade. "With the shortage of upcoming tradespeople, programs like this are so important for showing students what kinds of jobs are available to them," says Lorne.
Every year, SMS Equipment donates $1,000 to the program, and in the past, they have also donated equipment. The money donated goes towards feeding participants and the donated machines are vital to the operation of the program. These donations go a long way toward making the program successful.
Through their work and dedication to the Heavy Metal Rocks Program, Jamin, Lorne, and Shane embody SMS Equipment's commitment to giving back to the communities where we operate. These three men understand the importance of teaching students about the skilled trades industry and making sure SMS Equipment is a name the students will remember.