Students seeking a career in the trades will continue to get a head start in Prince Rupert thanks to some timely funding from the Industry Training Authority (ITA)
On Nov. 5, ITA announced more than $1.3 million dollars in funding to school districts throughout B.C.. Prince Rupert will receive $20,000 of those dollars, that will go toward apprenticeship programs connecting students to the workplace.
“This money is the industry recognizing how important training in the trades is and will continue to be over the next few years,” said Brett Kuntz, district careers coordinator with SD52. “It gives us the resources to develop strategic partnerships that will build apprenticeship capacity for our students.”
Kuntz said students at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) are given the opportunity to apprentice with tradesmen in the city and earn a credit that will go toward their graduation.
An example of one of these partnerships is with Saanich Plumbing that has been training a student for a few years as he works to becoming a certified plumber.
Don Lennon, manager at Saanich, said the student gets hands-on learning experience with the materials, and gets to watch and ask questions about the job from experienced tradesmen.
“What I like about it is that it opens these kids eyes as far as what the trades are,” Lennon said. “It helps them with their life decision in terms of what path they want to take after high school.”
Lennon added that training a new cohort of Canadian skilled trades workers is important as the older generation are nearing retirement age.
“I would like to see each company max out the ratio as far as journeymen to apprentices,” he said. “And that is why we’re getting our young kids trained. Canada is short of homegrown tradesmen and it’s been that way for a while.”