A Nelson intern helps provide design solutions

A wage subsidy has enabled Spearhead Inc. to focus on training intern Spica, without worrying about losing staff time that could have been spent on client projects.

3 minute read

A Trust wage subsidy aids the onboarding process

Who does an architectural firm turn to when it wants to plan and fabricate an exceptional design? For many of the best firms across Canada and the United States, they look to Nelson’s own Spearhead—which recently added to the quality of its services by hiring an intern.

“We’re able to offer very specialized solutions to very complex design challenges,” says Josh Hall, Director of Business Development. To do so, the company is engaged early in the process to help its clients optimize how they will approach their builds, especially in ways that take advantage of Spearhead’s state-of-the-art CNC (computer numerical control) machines. One project in 2022, for example, was the temporary “Filter” pavilion in New York City’s Times Square, complete with tall shards of naturally weathered steel.

In addition to high-tech equipment, Spearhead’s people are key. “We’ve built an amazing team of very inspired individuals,” Hall says, “Spica being one of them.”

Spica Toroy is the company’s newest intern, hired with help from Columbia Basin Trust’s Career Internship Program. Originally from the Philippines, where she started a career doing structural engineering and drafting. Toroy moved to Nelson to be close to her aunt and study a new skillset in the Digital Fabrication and Design program at Selkirk College. After graduating earlier in 2023, she joined Spearhead.

“Coming to Spearhead, it’s bridging what I learned from the two-year program at Selkirk and what I knew in my previous job,” she says. “The process of modelling something on the computer and then seeing it into fabrication—becoming an actual thing—was what interested me.”

As a project coordinator, she talks to builders, architects, engineers and other project staff to help them develop answers to their design questions. One project she’s currently working on, for example, is a resort coming to Tofino, BC. This will one day boast items like tailor-made wood and steel beams and columns fabricated by Spearhead.

“Spica’s modelling everything on the computer in CAD software, which programs the CNC machines,” Hall says. She’s also shadowing staff in the shop so she can have in-person experience of the fabrication process.

The Trust’s Career Internship Program was a welcome aid in bringing Toroy onto the team. This wage subsidy provides employers with up to 50 per cent of an intern’s salary, for up to one year, for full-time, career-focused positions that lead to permanent employment. Post-secondary graduates develop skills and experience and gain meaningful and sustainable employment. The businesses hire and train long-term staff at reduced costs.

The subsidy has enabled Spearhead to focus on training Toroy, without worrying about losing staff time that could have been spent on client projects. “It put us in a spot where we didn’t have to talk about the lost revenue or the cost of onboarding,” Hall says, “and I think we were able to offer a better onboarding process because of it.”

The Trust has heard that it is important to people in the region to support employment, business vibrancy and workforce development. The Trust’s wide range of wage subsidy programs—including this one, focused on career interns—helps make this happen.

In addition, this particular arrangement has helped Spearhead strengthen its relationship with Selkirk College, which recommended Toroy to them. “We’re trying to establish more connections with educational institutions to support students entering the industry and give them real experience,” Hall says.

Toroy is well settled into her position and happy it will lead to permanent employment. As for Spearhead, “This internship has been very productive and Spica’s been able to contribute immensely,” Hall says. “She has a bright future here at Spearhead.”

Our Trust Magazine

Basin Stories

and more in your
inbox with Our Trust

Find a story

Search for a story using any of the fields below or select a region on the map to find stories for that region.

  • Keyword or Title

  • Area of Interest

  • Community

  • Date

Northern Region

Southeast Region

Southwest Region

Southeeast RegionSouthwest RegionNorthern Region