Program prepares youth for employment
Wearing safety glasses, steel-toe footwear and earplugs, three West Kelowna teenagers learned how to check vehicle brakes, tire air pressure and essential fluids Thursday morning.
Jayna Jackson, Brittany Hill and Cheyanne McCallum were at Kal Tire in West Kelowna as part of the Skilled4Success program, created by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. Five more participants are expected to receive similar training Friday.
This is the second year Central Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs have offered the program, in partnership with Kal Tire.
"Because of the shortage of workers in skilled trades (expected) in the next few years, this is kind of (a) way to get the ball rolling with the younger generations," said Jen Carter, representing Central Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs.
"Last year, out of the 22 youth who we provided the program to, almost every single one of them connected with our employment program with the Boys and Girls Clubs, and since then, most of them have found employment."
Although most of those who received training through Skilled4Success this week won't end up working at Kal Tire, the skills learned may be transferable to other jobs and useful in everyday life.
"Particularly with (Thursday's) group, they're three young girls who are eventually going to own their own cars one day.
"They focused on doing hands-on, kind of basic inspection…(those) are basic responsibilities when you have your own vehicle."
Cam Currie, manager of Kal Tire on Elk Road in West Kelowna, provided Jackson, Hill and McCallum with instruction before letting them tackle hands-on maintenance, such as checking the brakes.
Afterward, he gave them tips regarding how they should go about applying for a job, and what time of year Kal Tire is most in need of employees.
"The busiest season for us is obviously winter," said Currie.
"October and November for us…is incredibly busy. April and May, the opposite, changing from winter to summer (tires).
"So because of that, we have to inflate our teams substantially."
Along with teaching car maintenance skills and employment expectations, Currie said Skilled4Success gives Kal Tire an opportunity to scout for talented youngsters with aptitudes for working with vehicles.