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Top Selkirk College Electrical Foundation Students Earn Praise and Pliers

As they get set to graduate into careers in the trades, Electrical Foundation Program students Thomas Yowek and Valerie Lacelle enter with confidence built at Nelson’s Silver King Campus.

Mature students looking for a shift, Yowek and Lacelle’s performance in the classroom and in shop training throughout the 24-week program was lauded by instructors. To recognize their achievement as the cohort’s top students, Instructor Travis Henne presented Yowek with special edition Klein Tools pliers and Lacelle with a tool belt.

“Both of these students are outstanding,” says Henne, himself a Selkirk College alumnus. “Students who come into the foundation program looking for a career change do very well because building confidence is a big part. A lot of electrical work is problem solving and mature students seem to really enjoy that aspect of the program.”

Yowek is a Red Seal chef who did his formal education at the Selkirk College Tenth Street Campus in the Professional Cook Training Program. After spending time in the kitchen at heliski and catski operations, he decided to try something new.

“I’ve been thinking about a change for a while and decided now was the time,” says Yowek. “Working with hand tools in the electrical shop has some similarities to my work as a chef, you just have to slow down a bit with electrical to focus a little more on precision.”

Originally from Quebec, Lacelle moved to Rossland six years ago where she has been working as a horticulture technician. She entered the Electrical Foundation Program to diversify her knowledge and hopes to blend both skillsets with new opportunities. Starting the program during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lacelle is grateful for the chance to learn in-person.

“It has been amazing, I loved this program,” she says. “Getting to come into the classroom and shops to work on assignments was very fulfilling. The instructors are amazing and I am excited about what is ahead.”

In a partnership arranged by electrical supplier Gullevin International in Castlegar, Klein Tools is helping Selkirk College students get off to the right start in their trades’ careers. The American-based manufacturer gave every student in this year’s foundation program cohort folding drywall saws, an offer of $1,200 worth of essential tools for $500 and the top-student linesman pliers that was presented in a beautiful box.

“Pliers are the number-one tool in the electrical trade and it’s generous of Klein Tools to get involved in our program,” says Henne. “All of the graduates of this year’s foundation program have promising careers ahead of them and we wish them the best as they pursue what comes next.”

The Selkirk College Electrical Foundation Program is the first step towards Red Seal certification. There are four levels of Electrical Apprenticeship programming also offered at the Silver King Campus that are combined with earning work-based training hours. Both Yowek and Lacelle plan to continue on their pathway towards Red Seal endorsement.

You can learn more about the Electrical Foundation Program at:

Photo Caption: Selkirk College Electrical Foundation Program students Valerie Lacelle (left) and Thomas Yowek (right) were honoured as the top students in their graduating cohort based out of Nelson’s Silver King Campus. Yowek received special edition Klein Tools linesmen pliers and Lacelle was presented with a tool belt.