There’s nothing like a good chopper, according to Northern Lights College (NLC) student Shannon Dyck.
"I love helicopters, absolutely love them," she said. "Travel, engine, flying, you name it."
Dyck, who graduated with a business degree but decided to learn to fix helicopters instead, was one of many NLC students on hand to help guide students through Dual Credit Day at NLC on Thursday.
Brad Lyon, a spokesman for the college, said that the event is something the college tries to do every year.
The program shows students the programs they could take while still in high school to come away as a skilled tradesperson. Some students who take the program can graduate fully trained.
"It gives them a chance to do some hands-on stuff," he added. "This turns into a learning situation."
Approximately 250 students from Chetwynd and Dawson Creek high schools went to the two campuses to learn a variety of skills, from cosmetology to carpentry.
The students were from Grade 9, as Lyon said that he hoped to interest these students in these trades so they could take appropriate classes later on.
One of the students was Rebbecca Tolway, a student from Dawson Creek Secondary School's Central Campus.
"For our school [Dual Credit Day] was kind of mandatory, but I really wanted to come here and find out what my choices were," Tolway said. "I find it very fun to try new things... learning what you can learn in the future."
She also learned that while cooking didn't suit her, Tolway felt like aircraft repair was something she was interested in.
"You get to learn how to fix the engines and learn how it's running properly," she said.
Tolway said that since she came from a farm family, she was used to being around machinery.
"I do like to work with my hands and get down and dirty," she said. "That's how I was raised."
Tolway and other students were shown around the Aircraft Maintenance Hangar, where they saw the exposed engines of small aircraft, single-person Cessnas, and even a Huey military helicopter that seemed to come straight out of a Vietnam war movie.
Guiding Tolway around these helicopters was Dyck and fellow student Ben Peters.
Dyck admitted that air repair is complex.
“It’s not something you learn in a day, but you try and give [the Grade 9 students] the gist of it,” she said.
If Tolway does decide to pursue the same opportunities as Dyck, Tolway could find herself in a boys club.
"There's definitely a gap of women in the industry," said Dyck. "Out of all the [aircraft mechanics] in Canada, there's only four per cent."
She also said that there are times when she has difficulties with the work.
"Sometimes it's a strength," Dyck added. "Sometimes I just can't lift as much as my partner can so we work together to balance it out."
Despite the difficulties, however, she said she remains committed to aircraft repair.
“I like knowing being able to take this part away, and know what everything’s doing go,” she said. “I mean, you just go to do it, and if you keep it up with the boys, and keep going, you’re good to go.”