Project Based Training Opens Doors of Opportunity

Selkirk College Offers Programming in Salmo for First Time


Ross Spur resident Tina Paterson was looking for a new direction in life when an email from her child’s elementary school introduced her to the Safety in Resource Industry Forestry Training Program (SiRI) offered at Selkirk College. A single mother of two, Paterson jumped at the chance to gain job ready skills and build a resume aimed a higher paid employment.

Paterson is one of 50 residents from around the region who has taken advantage of the tuition-free program that aims to get unemployed and under-employed people the training they require to transition into an industry that needs more entry level workers. In partnership with the federal and provincial governments, SiRI has provided the forest industry training over the winter in five different communities around the region. 

CEWT Salmo Program

Tina Paterson was one of 12 participants in the Safety in Resource Industry Forestry Training (SiRI) Program offered at Selkirk College. Taking part in the Salmo course, Paterson learned skills like fire suppression.

“I was in the middle of figuring out what I want to do when I grow up,” the 40-year-old Paterson says with a laugh. “I’ve been a customer service rep and a secretary for a really long time. I need to make bigger money because I can’t support my kids on minimum wage as a single parent.”

SiRI is a month-long program that offers eligible individuals the opportunity to gain 17 certificates in areas such as Occupational First Aid, Chainsaw Handling & Safety Training, Fire Suppression & Entrapment Avoidance Training, Bear Aware and Tree Identification. The program was designed with extensive input from leaders in the area’s forest industry who told Selkirk College that entry level skills will help enable a more productive workforce.

Paterson joined a group of 12 people who took part in the program that was offered out of Salmo during the month of February. Earlier in the winter, Selkirk College offered the program in Crawford Bay, Nelson, Nakusp and Slocan.

“I think this program is amazing,” says Paterson. “I’m excited because I think it’s going to open a lot of doors for me.”

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