Job training, school credits, maybe some students can have their cake and eat it too.
The Youth Work in Trades Program has rolled out for the school year along with a $20,000 bonus from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) that went toward creating a coordinator position in School District 52.
There are seven students in the program involved in jobs that range from carpentry, small motor repair, professional cooking and roofing, said Ken Minette, superintendent for the school district.
Students can discover trades with hands-on projects as early as Grade 5. In high school, Grade 10-12 students can explore trades by learning practical skills, giving them a sense of what they would be interested in pursuing.
Dual credit programs are offered for Grades 10-12. Students can get technical training toward a trades certificate, or begin paid work through an apprenticeship, which will go toward high school graduation.
“This area has a very diverse economy,” said Crystal Bouchard, ITA apprenticeship advisor in the North West of B.C.
There is an opportunity to do an apprenticeship from cooks to heavy duty mechanics to millwright to welders, automotive, you name it, marine mechanics. We have everything from the hospitality industry to work in our ports and the transportation industry, which is growing in our region,” she said.
Funding for ITA has helped the school district meet its target of students engaged in the Work in Trades Program.
“A couple years ago we didn’t have any students,” Minette said. “ITA has really brought it to the forefront.”