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A group of Lower Mainland secondary school teachers are more prepared than ever to introduce students to the world of CNC machining, thanks to their completion of the Haas Basic Mill Operator course, a certification program coordinated by the British Columbia Metal Manufacturing Advisory Group (BCMMAG).

The Haas Basic Mill Operator program, led by Marte Arreola, Instructor at BCIT’s School of Energy, provides the knowledge necessary to get started as a CNC operator or machinist. It was well-received by participants, who provided some feedback following the final week of training sessions.

“Marte put on an awesome course that has already helped me teach with our Haas Desktop Mill that we received from the BCMMAG,” said Steve Cook, Applied Design Skills and Technology teacher at Byrne Creek Secondary School. “With the support and knowledge, I now have I feel more comfortable and able to teach students about CNC Machining.”

Cook and seven additional educators participated in the inaugural, four-week course. Each week consisted of two nights of online sessions as well as one, hands-on training session at BCIT. Lessons were built around the programming, development and production of three projects; a fidget spinner, an engraved box and a swiss cube, all built using CNC machining tools and technology.

“It was a positive learning experience both online and in-person,” added Eric Li, Technology Education teacher from J.N. Burnett School. “The technical skills we learned from Marte and the hands-on machine time we obtained were really valuable for setting up similar environments in a high school setting.”

With the success of the first course of CNC machine training, the BCMMAG has shifted focus towards the next round of educator training and building upon the momentum generated through BC’s secondary school and industry networks.

“It was an awesome class. Just knowing that people want to learn about CNC machining, gets me driven,” said Arreola. “Training the teachers was so amazing because it not just a transfer of knowledge and skills to another person. It is amazing because we are building a network of support at the same time so they can expand their knowledge and share it with others.”

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