TEST DRIVE  The Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce welcomed members to a mixer at the College of the Rockies where participants were offered an opportunity to drive an industrial equipment simulator. Photo by Breanne Massey

The growing demand to learn an industrial trade reached a new demographic last week.

Event participants tested out the industrial equipment simulator that was made available to members of the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce (CVCC) at the College of the Rockies (COTR) on Thursday, October 8th.

Invermere Campus of College of the Rockies had its state of the art haul truck/dozer simulator in the valley for the past week, said COTR general manager Doug Clovechok. As part of the Discovery of Trades program, students have had the opportunity to spend time learning how to operate a D 11 T Caterpillar dozer. The simulator replicates the exact controls and process that would be found in a real D 11 getting a real sense of what it would be like to be a dozer operator.

In addition, the membership mixer provided a unique platform for CVCC members to try their hand at an industrial trade.

Business mixers or after hours mixers are an informal and fun way for chamber members to network and get a better understanding of what other businesses do by seeing the various businesses first hand, said CVCC executive director Susan Clovechok.

COTR offers a seven week course at the Fernie or Cranbrook campuses using stationary simulators.

There are great employment opportunities for equipment operators throughout BC and Alberta, said Mr. Clovechok, and many COTR students who have already gone through the program are working.