Dramatizing a young worker’s courage to say no to a job outside his comfort zone has earned a pair of student filmmakers cash for themselves and their school.
Saul Ramey and Alex Greba claimed first prize in a WorkSafeBC student safety-video contest, and earned $500 for their efforts, plus $2,000 for Penticton Secondary School. Theirs was deemed the best entry among 66 received in the Grade 11-12 category.
Young workers are injured a rate that’s a third higher than in the total working population, according to WorkSafeBC, which is an issue it has tried to address through the contest.
“Getting kids involved in making safety videos really engages them, their friends and others in the community to really look at some of the hazards and risks that face young people in the workplace,” said Robin Schooley, who presented the award Tuesday on behalf of the agency.
The 90-second Penticton entry begins with a teenaged male receiving a letter advising he has received a scholarship to play baseball at college. He heads to work, where his boss asks him to use a cutting torch and grinder to chop up a pile of metal. The teen expresses concern because he has never used the tools before, but relents. He eventually reconsiders, and his boss agrees to give him a different task.
Schooley liked the video because it teaches young workers to speak up for themselves, but also demonstrates an employer who adjusts.
Ramey starred in the video opposite his father, Dave, who also cleared the way for the sheet-metal shop where he works to provide the film’s backdrop.
“Honestly, I just, like, went with it,” said the younger Ramey, who has limited acting experience.
“I felt pretty confident we could do a good job with the video.”
Greba, who won the contest last year with three other Pen High students, said the production only took about a day, and he wanted to draw a link between young people’s jobs and their future plans.
“We were trying to think of why somebody might be motivated to come home from work, and there’s tons of reasons,” Greba said, including sports scholarships.
The duo also credited film teacher Russell Stasiuk, who helped with production. The video, called Throwing Away Your Future, is available on Youtube and the WorkSafeBC website.
Seaspan Marine Corporation sponsored the $2,500 prize. Jack Lukeniuk, safety manger at the company’s Vancouver shipyards, said Seaspan is paying close attention to young workers as it spools up to fulfill an $8 billion order from the federal government.