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Future bright for YELS students

Erin Fletcher
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Mar 29/04) - High grades and a new partnership with ConocoPhilips combined to build the most successful Beaufort Delta Education Council Youth Entry Level Skills (YELS) oil and gas program.

Effie MacLeod, a former YELS co-ordinator, said this year there were more qualified applicants than they've seen in the two years since the program started.

"It seems to grow every year," MacLeod said during a special awards ceremony held in the BDEC board room, March 12.

"There are going to be a lot of opportunities available to you," she told the five grads.

"Your age group is going to have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of oil and gas and self-government."

Fort McPherson students Sheena Snowshoe and Patrick Colin, Tuktoyaktuk students Margaret Noksana and Paul Steen and Aklavik student Cora Lee Simpson completed the four-week program with flying colours.

The session offered students aged 16 years and older an opportunity to learn about the oil and gas industry through a three-week classroom component followed by a one week work placement.

This year Austin Abbott instructed and co-ordinated the program.

Snowshoe was the first student in the program to get 100 per cent on her final exam and a 96 per cent average overall.

"I learned so much in four weeks," she said.

"It was just like a job. We had to get up every morning at 5:30 a.m."

Snowshoe visited ConocoPhilips' Wembley Gas Plant in Grande Prairie, Alta., along with Noksana. This was the first time ConocoPhilips had sponsored students for the project.

Noksana was so impressed she said she "definitely" would want to get a job in the industry after graduation, especially if it involved science, geology and maps.

"This opportunity was the most interesting thing. There are thousands of jobs in this industry," Noksana said.