New money for the Central Okanagan School District from the province is aimed at helping encourage secondary students to chose a career in the trades. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Central Okanagan secondary school students encouraged to pursue a career in the trades

Apprenticeship Recognition Week is being marked across B.C., including in the Central Okanagan

The fourth annual Apprenticeship Recognition Week in B.C. is being marked in the Central Okanagan with an event aimed at encouraging secondary school students to look at a future in the trades, and money for the school district to help make that happen.

The Central Okanagan School District is one of 49 districts across B.C. receiving funds from the Industry Training Authority to support youth apprentices in the community. The district is getting $20,000 as part of ITA’s $1.3 million fund for youth apprenticeships.

ITA Youth Work in Trades is a dual-credit program that provides an opportunity for B.C. students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 to start apprenticeships by working with local employers to gain practical hands-on experience. Students earn a paycheck while earning hours towards an apprenticeship and credits towards their high school diploma.

An apprenticeship in the skilled trades is an integral entry-point for British Columbians to gain meaningful and good-paying careers, says the ITA, adding the on-the-job experience accounts for approximately 80 per cent of training, with the other 20 per cent in the classroom.

“Connecting high school students with the training they need to become skilled tradespeople gives them a real head start towards a rewarding, great career,” said Melanie Mark, B.C.’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “I’m proud our government is working with the ITA to lift people up. Everyone deserves to be a valued part of B.C.’s strong economy and help us meet employers’ needs for over 70,000 skilled trades workers in the next decade.”

On Thursday, the ITA will hold its Talking Trades event at the BCIT Kelowna campus. The first-time initiative will see local skilled trades “champion,” Dylan Cook and ITA regional apprenticeship advisor Finbar O’Sullivan talk to a classroom full of ITA youth trades program students to help inspire and motivate them to continue their pursuit of a career in skilled trades towards certification.

With nearly 71,000 job openings in the skilled trades over the next decade, apprentices will play an important role in supporting a strong economy for our province, according to the ITA.

ITA partners with the Ministry of Education to deliver ITA Youth Trades programs that provide B.C. students with the opportunity to discover, explore, train and work in the trades during their school years. The programs provide students with what is described as a cohesive and streamlined path from early learning straight through to apprenticeship, and into the workforce.

Its programs include:

• Discover the Trades, which provides hands-on opportunities for students to try a trade, learn about trades and build projects using design thinking as early as Grade 5.

• Explore the Trades, which gives students a chance to explore different trades in Grades 10 to 12. Students gain practical skills and complete work certifications that trades employers are looking for.

• Train in Trades, which is a dual-credit program for Grades 11 to 12 that allows students to earn credits towards high school graduation and the first level of technical training towards a trades certificate.

• Work in Trades, which is a dual-credit program for grades 10 to 12 that allows students to earn credits towards high school graduation and begin the paid work-based training component of an apprenticeship.

“When students can get real work experience while still attending school, they have a head start on developing their career path,” said Rob Fleming, B.C.’s Minister of Education.

“We want our students interested in skilled trades to be as prepared as possible to move forward in education, in work, and in life – and ITA Youth Trades Programs are a great way to give our students the best chance to succeed in all three.”

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