Thirteen sawmill workers — men and women — are studying circular saw filing level one at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake full-time for next six weeks.
“It’s the only program of its kind in Western Canada,” said retired saw filer Greg Daykin who comes from Prince George to teach the course. “All of these students are working somewhere, with the exception of one who was at the sawmill in Quesnel before it closed.”
In the course, students learn how to maintain sawmill saws, he added.
Three of the students are women, and rumour has it when the program was offered at BCIT, only two women attended in 20 years, Daykin smiled.
This is the fourth time Daykin has taught the course in Williams Lake since September 2013.
Students must have 840 hours of work to enter the course and are required to complete 2,520 hours to become fully certified.
“Many people have been doing saw filing on the job, but aren’t certified,” Daykin explained.
As she helped set up a MIG welder, Juliane Knoll said she comes from Squamish.
“We’ve been apprenticing on average over a year to learn saw filing and saw fitting,” she said.
Working with Knoll in the campus shop were Curt Bird from Grand Prairie, Alta. and Scott Courtney from Port Alberni.
Across the room Clayton Smith of Vanderhoof, Meaghan Wolff of Port Alberni, Jim Higginson of Burns Lake and Gord Vanhemert of Vernon were working together in a group.
“They are all working trades people,” Daykin added.