Community Papers

Electrical students take learning to new heights

Okanagan College electrician students on tour at the Revelstoke Dam. - Contributed
Okanagan College electrician students on tour at the Revelstoke Dam.
— image credit: Contributed

Contribute by Okanagan College

A group of first-year electrical students from Okanagan College had the opportunity to go where few outside of BC Hydro ever get to venture – inside the walls of the Revelstoke generating station.

The students were invited by BC Hydro to get a first-hand look at the operations of one of the province’s most powerful hydroelectric developments. The budding electricians toured the 175-metre high concrete gravity dam and powerhouse generating units to add a whole new element to their classroom and shop training, allowing students to witness the process of electrical generation.

“The tour was a great opportunity for the students to become more engaged in the community and to make connections within the industry,” said Todd Leskie, electrical pre-apprenticeship instructor. “I’m continually amazed by how committed my students are to learning their craft and becoming skilled tradespeople.  That commitment is a sign of what these program opportunities mean to each individual and a tour like this really puts a whole new perspective on the theory that we learn in the classroom.”

The students were joined by staff from BC Hydro: Dennean Gould, maintenance and operations manager; Corey Stenerson, electrical apprentice, and Jen Walker-Larsen, communications.

“BC Hydro congratulates the Okanagan College on yet another successful program that is helping local students develop the trades skills they need and appreciated the opportunity to spend some time with the electrical foundation students at Revelstoke Dam,” said Walker-Larsen. “BC Hydro’s Mica Units 5 and 6 Project will provide a total of $120,000 to support trades training programs offered in Revelstoke, Golden, Nakusp and Valemount and the project is expected to create the equivalent of 160 full time trades jobs each year.”

Okanagan College’s rotating electrical pre-apprentice (foundation) program is six months in duration and runs consecutively in Salmon Arm, Vernon and Penticton, while the same program is offered a number of times in Kelowna each year.

Support from industry partners such as BC Hydro, who provided $15,000 towards the electrical foundation program through the Mica Units 5 and 6 project, helps build trades capacity in local communities.

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