What’s up at VIU Fall 2014

malLogoAs we prepare to run off to summer jobs or holidays, it’s a great time to set down some education and training plans for September!

This week we offer a peek at what is on offer at Vancouver Island University (VIU)’s Powell River Campus. As we are simply compiling and relaying this information, it’s best to check with VIU staff for any specifics and for updates at 604.485.2878 or check their website at http://www.pr.viu.ca/

Dual Credit

Some program seats are reserved for qualifying high school students which allows them to obtain their high school graduation while concurrently earning a Vancouver Island University Certificate or Vancouver Island University Credits.

The following programs/courses are available for Dual Credit:
Trades Programs

  • Automotive Service Technician – Foundation Level 1
  • Culinary Arts – Apprenticeship Level 1
  • Carpentry – Foundation Level 1
  • Hairdressing
  • Welding – Foundation

For more information please contact Jim Palm, Career Education Coordinator, Brooks Secondary School at 604-483-3171 or an advisor at Vancouver Island University at 604-485-2878.

Short-Term Certification Options


English Academic Skills Experience (EASE)
Campus and Community English Immersion Program
Sustainable Leisure Management MA Program Preparation View brochure

Funding Opportunities

The following are links for Apprenticeship grants and tax credits

See http://www.itabc.ca/grants-tax-credits/grants. $1000 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants (AIGs) are available for first two years of Red Seal apprenticeships.

See list of AIG requirements here.

After that, tax credits are available. Tax credits are also available for non-Red-Seal apprenticeship programs.

A Career in Forest Firefighting


A forest fire can injure or kill animals, threaten towns and communities, emit pollutants into the air, and alter the soil and water. It can spread very quickly, and will destroy everything in its path. As a forest firefighter, it’s your job to minimize the damage that’s caused by a blaze like this one on the left by putting it out as quickly as possible. You also work to prevent fires from occurring in the first place, which involves removing fallen trees, managing controlled burning, and working to educate the community about fire prevention.

As a Forest Firefighter, the majority of your work is done outdoors as part of a crew. Many forest firefighters work where they live (and often where they grew up), protecting forests by putting out the fires that threaten their community. You are motivated and enjoy the challenge that every day brings. You are committed to your team, dedicated to physical fitness, endurance, diligence and the feeling of satisfaction knowing that you’re helping to protect the natural environment, people, and property.

The list includes typical job duties one might encounter as a forest fire fighter:

  • Use firefighting tools such as hoses, axes, and handheld radios
  • Operate and maintain skidders and bulldozers
  • Participate in water bombing operations
  • Dig trenches, cut trees, and pump water onto burning areas
  • Patrol burned areas to watch for hot spots that could restart fires
  • Prepare firefighting reports

Forest firefighters work in a variety of locations, including, but not limited to:

  • Carry heavy equipment across rough terrain
  • Handle large- or small-scale forest fires
  • Prepare firefighting reports

Before entering the workforce, forest firefighters are required to be trained in:

  • Chainsaw safety
  • Standard first aid
  • Transportation of dangerous goods
  • Workplace hazardous materials information systems (WHMIS)

Attributes & Abilitiesrelatedcareers

  • Communication skills
  • Work well as part of a team
  • Able to work in stressful situations
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • An interest in nature and the environment

You should have a strong interest in:

  • Physical education
  • Biology
  • Math
  • English

In most cases, the minimum educational requirement to work as a forest firefighter is a high school diploma. The following post-secondary programs are most applicable to a career in this field:

  • Forestry
  • Wilderness and survival
Location Wage ($/hr)
Low Median High
Vancouver Island and Coast Region 17.00 22.00 35.00
  •  Usually work 40 hours a week, which can include evening and weekend shifts
  • Wages
  • Starting wage 1st year in BC average $19-$20/hour

A few Post-Secondary Education Options

  • College of the Rockies fire training certificate
  • Location: Cranbrook Campus
  • Length: 22 Weeks
  • Tuition Levels (approx.): $13017 Total
  • Book & Supply Cost Estimates: $2500 Total
  • Credentials: Certificate
  • Confirm your program information with COTR
  • Application Deadline Advice: Applications from qualified students are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Early application is recommended.
  • Application Fee: $30


  • BSF (Major in Forest Resources Management) Degree (UBC)
  • Location: Point Grey Campus – Vancouver BC
  • Length: Four Years
  • Tuition Levels (approx.): $5720 per year
  • Book & Supply Cost Estimates: $1170 per year
  • Credentials: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Confirm your program information with UBC
  • Application Deadline Advice: Applications must be submitted by January 31 for September entry. Early application is recommended. Confirm dates with UBC.
  • Application Fee: $62


  • Career Fire Fighter Pre-Employment Certificate
  • Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC)
  • Location: Maple Ridge
  • Length: 12 weeks (30 credits)
  • Tuition Levels (approx.): $7717 Total
  • Book & Supply Cost Estimates: $258 Total
  • Credentials: Certificate
  • Confirm your program information with JIBC
  • Application Deadline Advice: Visit www.jibc.ca for further information.
  • Application Fee: $75. Apply to JIBC now with the BC Post-Secondary Application Service.


“The best way for someone to qualify for an entry-level position is to enter a program in forest management at college and complete all the requirements to earn the degree.”


  • Traveling to places that you would never otherwise see
  • Working with air operations on incident management teams, especially helicopters on fires, and getting to ‘play in the woods’ for a living
  • An opportunity to do something different every day
  • Thinking on your feet (e.g. determining whether you have a brush fire or if you’re going to a sandbagging call), you never know exactly what you have until you arrive on scene. You have to determine if you have a brush fire, if don’t know exactly the type of brush that you have, the topography, the weather, what the fire is exactly doing, or how long you are going to be working for
  • You get to stay physically fit and get to serve your community, which is admirable
  • You get to enjoy the camaraderie, working with other people and learning as well teaching them things


  • The work can be dangerous
  • Working with the forest service, sometimes we are working long hours, especially during prescribed burning season and fire season
  • Working on holidays; and when it’s a beautiful sunny day, it’s a possible fire day. While everyone else is at the beach, a ranger is sitting at home waiting on a fire
  • Being on call for fires means you have to stay close to home or close to your truck
  • Being away from your family/friends for long stretches of time, whether it’s days or weeks
  • Discomfort: sometimes sleeping out on mountainsides on rocks, on the dirt, and getting dirty for long periods of time.
  • Work outdoors in all kinds of weather
  • The work is noisy, dusty, and physically demanding




Bladerunners is back!

Bladerunners20LogoWhat is Bladerunners?
Bladerunners is one of the most successful youth employment programs in BC. It helps participants with multiple barriers to employment to successfully transition into the workplace. By providing essential certifications and personal guidance, Bladerunners helps to ensure participants have what it takes to get hired.
This session of Bladerunners is geared towards preparing participants for jobs in the service industry. Eligible youth who wish to become employed this summer are strongly encouraged to apply.

What will Bladerunners receive?
● 4 weeks of classroom-based learning focusing on professional development, skills enhancement, and personal growth.
● WHMIS, Food Safe, World Host, Serving it Right, First Aid (OFA L1) and other workshops and training.
● Possibility of other certifications or necessary pieces of identification as needed.
● Training stipend of $100/week for attendance.
● Employment bonus of $100 upon attaining employment.
● Work clothes to help support the cost of entering the workplace.
● Possibility of participating in additional work experience.
Who is Eligible?
Unemployed or underemployed youth ages 15-30 who are not students and have not received Employment Insurance in the past 3 years are eligible for Bladerunners.
Good candidates for Bladerunners include youth with some of the following barriers and criteria:

  • Lack of experience or education (eg. Non-completion of High School, limited work experience or training)
  • At risk factors (eg. History of substance abuse, single parent issues, contact with justice,
  • homeless or at risk of homelessness)
  • Aboriginal ancestry

● The program runs for 4 weeks, Monday June 16th to Friday July 11th
● Sessions will be held at Career Link #103, 4511 Marine Avenue, Powell River V8A 2K5
● To discuss becoming a Bladerunner, please contact Nicole Townsend at nicole@careerlinkbc.com or call Career Link at 604 485-7958.

Water Cooler: Is online learning for me?

Take our survey! Click here.

By Melany Hallam
No matter what career you’ve chosen or what job you’re doing for now, at some point you will find yourself needing to upgrade your skills by taking a course or a program of some kind.

In Powell River, your options for face-to-face learning in the classroom are quite limited-by either local availability or scheduling. More and more, job seekers are finding that online learning is the only way to get required work certificates or longer-term programs. And depending on how you learn and on your past school experiences, that can be pretty intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.

I’ve been on both sides of the online learning process – as a student and as someone who provided online learning at a university. I can tell you that, without a doubt, the most difficult thing to manage is time. It’s not the difficulty of the subject you’re learning or how it’s delivered online or how you relate to your teacher, it’s just putting in the time.

Managing time is something that everyone has experience with, mostly along the lines of “there’s never enough of it!” Well, here’s a revolutionary idea: there’s always enough time. I can see you rolling your eyes at that statement. Don’t worry, I’m not going to start talking about discipline and setting goals. In fact, I`m going to talk about being as easy on yourself as possible.

I have a friend (let’s call her “Sandra”) who is taking an online cooking and nutrition program right now, a two-year commitment. Exams are due on certain days and there’s a weekly online lesson time but, for the most part, the work can be done whenever Sandra wants. So she made a schedule, and then she tried to stick to it. As very often happens, it drove Sandra crazy that she couldn’t get the lessons done when she had scheduled them.

After going along like this for a while, she realized that she was actually learning a lot and was really excited about what she was learning. She was putting in the time each day to learn, and that was a huge accomplishment – she should have been patting herself on the back. Instead, she felt like she was failing. Setting goals to finish certain lessons by exact dates wasn’t helping her learn. She sometimes raced through material to get to her goal and then didn’t remember what she’d read. That was especially unhelpful when it came to doing exams.

What can you learn from Sandra’s experience? You could start by committing to working in small, easy-to-handle chunks of time, say 20 minutes every second evening. And then don’t go over that time.

You heard me.

If you get to the end of your chunk of time and you’re not completely exhausted (as you would be if you leave your work to the last minute and try to get it all done at once), you can feel good about what you’ve accomplished. You met your goal. Then just keep doing it, and increase the length of your chunks of time at a pace you can handle. Go easy on yourself.

If you miss a session – it’s OKAY, don’t panic! And don’t beat yourself up about it. Just keep going and try to spend an average amount of time over a week or a month. Put in the time and the lessons and tests will get done. It’s inevitable.

And, who knows, in addition to finishing the course you need for work, you might even enjoy it!

Are you motivated about online learning yet? Here are some more things to consider and questions you can ask to help in your decision:

  • What is your work goal and is the course or program going to get you closer to your goal?
  • Will the course or program work around your schedule?
  • Be clear on the different types of online learning situations available and what you are comfortable with. Formats include: For longer programs, check out the course reviews and find out about the instructor – not all online coursesare created equal.
    • Self-paced (usually videos and multiple choice quizzes), take whenever you want. Completely on the computer, no interaction with an instructor or other students.
    • Monthly start dates with specific end dates and assignment deadlines. Reading and assignments. Message board interaction with instructor.
    • Specific schedule. Some real time interaction with instructor and other students. Includes instructor and/or peer assessment of your assignments.
  • Compare prices. Sometimes the exact same course is offered by different institutions at different prices.
  • Look worldwide. People tend to look at courses offered geographically close to them, even though the course is online. Broaden your search and you may find exactly what you’re looking for (as long as it’s accepted locally).
  • Technical considerations – how comfortable are you with computers? If you’re not very comfortable or you don’t have your own computer, here are some places where you can upgrade your skills or use computersfor free:

Online course offerings to try out:

  • Not sure what course formats might be right for you? Here are some free and sample courses to try out: Here’s a list of short, work-related certificate courses such as FoodSafe and Serving it Right. Most can be taken at any time:http://www.careerlinkbc.com/education.php
    • Lynda.com offers software and business courses by subscription, mostly videos. Click on any specific course to view a couple of lessons for free.
    • Coursera is an education platform that partners with top universities and organizations worldwide, to offer general interest courses online for anyone to take, for free. They offer certificates of completion for a cost, but you don’t have to take them up on it. Includes online interaction and assessments by peers and instructors.
  • Education to Go. A wide range of courses that start every month, including software, business, design, writing and more, http://www.ed2go.com/viu/.
  • Canadian Virtual University. Online university courses from 11 accredited Canadian universities and colleges, http://www.cvu-uvc.ca/english.html
  • All colleges and universities offer at least a few online courses. Start your research from our B.C. post secondary institutes listing here:http://www.careerlinkbc.com/education.php


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