The Nechako Lakes School district has received more than $100,000 in recent years, with funding primarily going towards carpentry and metal work equipment for trades classrooms and workshops across the district. (Black Press files)

B.C. high school students receive head start on trades

In light of the 2018 graduation season wrapping up, while students and staff gear up for summer holidays, British Columbia high school students can expect to get a head start on the trades — and the chance to explore exciting new career paths — due to new equipment funding.

School districts across the province will receive a total of $3.5 million in funding this year to buy new equipment, upgrade trades classrooms and bolster educational workshops, according to a news release issued by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.

“Today’s high school students will be the engine driving B.C.’s economy into the future,” said Melanie Mark, the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “I’m thrilled that government is helping them get early exposure to training for rewarding and good-paying trades careers.”

58 school districts, including School District 91 Nechako Lakes, will be receiving funding this year through the Industry Training Authority’s (ITA’s) Youth Trades Capital Equipment Program.

This will prohibit the districts to buy modern equipment that will ultimately improve safety in the classroom, while ensuring students are learning and training on the most up-to-date technology and hardware.

Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox, made the announcement at Georges P. Vanier Secondary school, in the Comox Valley School District. That particular district has received more than $178,782 over the last three years, which includes more than $25,000 this year.

The Nechako Lakes School district has received a total of $102,576 in recent years, with $14,726 in funding made available this year. This has primarily gone towards carpentry and metal work equipment for trades classrooms and workshops across the district.

“We’re giving students the tools they need to succeed and kick-starting successful careers in trades,” said Leonard. “I’m so pleased to see some of them working right here in our hometown.”

Per information provided in the news release, ITA’s partnership with the Ministry of Education is all for the goal of providing B.C. students with the opportunity to discover explore, train and ultimately work in the trades during their school years.

The programs intend to provide students, as early as Grade 5, with a comprehensive and streamlined path from the early learning process straight through apprenticeship and into the workforce.

Furthermore, work in trades doubles a a dual credit program for high school students, as it allows them to earn credits towards their high school graduation while simultaneously begin the paid work-based training component of an apprenticeship.

“The apprentices and tradespeople that build the communities in which we thrive are invaluable,” said Gary Herman, the chief executive officer of the ITA. “That’s why funding programs that equip students with the tools they need to explore and gain skills in skilled trades are so important to B.C.’s future.”

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