SD46 launches new training program for junior firefighters



This spring break, a dozen Sunshine Coast students will have the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a firefighter.

In 2022, Sunshine Coast School District # 46 (SD46) is launching the new Junior Firefighter Training Program with the Sechelt Fire Department. For a week in March, 12 selected students will undergo training at the Sechelt Fire Station as well as the Fire Training Center on Mason Road.

“We think this is a great opportunity for young children to explore a career in the fire service,” said Steven Achterberg, fire inspection captain with the Sechelt Fire Department. “Sometimes it’s a little grand and maybe a little out of reach, but we kind of want to give the kids the opportunity to experience what it’s all about in this kind of crash course and in the field. “

Students will learn basic first aid and firefighting skills and earn work experience course credit.

“They’ll experience a lot of teamwork, camaraderie… the intangibles of firefighters,” Achterberg said.

With the Coast Fire Department relying on volunteers, they hope this program will spark a spark among the youth, who may volunteer when they come of age.

Cathy Gordon, the District Career Coordinator, came up with the idea for a program for a similar program offered in other school districts in British Columbia, including Cowichan and Squamish. She hopes this will inspire students to think about other careers or volunteering opportunities this training is suitable for, such as becoming a paramedic, volunteering in search and rescue, fighting wildfires, or a career in fire fighting. Fight against fires.

Part, she added, is “learning to give back to the community”.

Other coastal fire departments are ready to help facilitate the program, Achterberg said.

At a December 8 school board meeting, school board trustee Matthew Douglas said he was in a class Gordon had introduced the program to.

“Everyone was buzzing,” he said, and thanked Gordon for the presentation.

Applications must be submitted by December 17th. Students must be 16 years of age or older to apply and be in grade 11 or 12.

Find more information and application at Gordon is available to answer all of your questions at [email protected]

Career programs are growing

Another new program joins the student roster in 2022. In January, the Pro Cook program will begin offering high school students from Level 2 to SD46.

There are three vocational training programs in SD46 and all offer post-secondary credits: cooking, carpentry, and automotive service.

This year, all three training programs are full, said district career coordinator Cathy Gordon. Students can also register to become Young Apprentices – a paid position that also earns them school credits – once they turn 16. Several students from the auto program have already been hired as part of their internships, she said.

Two students from the Trades Training program spoke at a school board meeting on December 8, sharing their experiences of learning about transitioning to a work environment with the help of the Pro Cook program. Hayden Fenn became an apprentice at El Segundo and said he hopes to become a Red Seal chef – a certification he didn’t know about until he took the program.

Fenn and Noah Ord both said they are more familiar and comfortable with business basics and terms and what is expected of them on the job. Fenn said he entered the Pro Cook program with a lot of questions and easily found the answers. Working with other people and having someone to turn to with questions has been helpful, the students said.

“If you have that option, definitely go for it,” Fenn said of the trades training program.

“There is always a need for trades,” said administrator Pammila Ruth after the students’ presentation.

Starting in September, SD46 is also launching an early childhood education program for grade 12 students that will offer double credits and a partnership with the Capilano Sechelt University campus.

More information on these programs can be found at



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