Since it began in November, the government program Discovery to Trades has been receiving positive reviews from students, instructors and the industry alike.
The program is administered by the Prince Rupert Aboriginal Skills Employment Partnerhip (or PRASEP) and has 32-local Aboriginal students participating. The students have learned introductory information on a variety of different trades including carpentry, crane operation and pipefitting, and have gained experience by training at job sites at various companies in the area.
“Discovery to Trades enabled industry to have a local workforce that keeps people home with their families. The program showed that by working together, anything can be accomplished,” said Chris Sankey, the Manager of PRASEP.
Dennis Blake, the Senior Manager at Ridley Terminals Inc., says the program has been valuable for the community.
“It has provided a necessary foundation upon which the students can build more technical skills in a specific trade. We’re pleased that we could assist the program by sponsoring the Heavy Equipment Operator and Industrial Painting programs, as well as providing the students with an overview of our terminal operations. We encourage the students of PRASEP to continue their training in the trades.” Said Blake.
Another local company to provide training at job sites was Broadwater Industries, which provided access to their industrial lot and crane for introductory courses in pile driving and iron-working, as well many other companies in the area.
The PRASEP funded all the training at job sites, and subsidized half of its students’ wages on a temporary basis.
Unfortunately when the program concludes on March 21, funding from the government for the PRASEP will end.
PRASEP partnered with the communities of Gitxaala, Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla and Prince Rupert to ensure that the program was successful, with Sankey saying “without the strong support of these communities, the program would not have been possible,”