Youth Trades Training Provides Opportunities
Prince George, B.C. – School District 57 has received recognition for its commitment to providing training for youth apprentices.
Representatives of the Industry Training Authority paid a visit to Prince George Friday evening to present the school district with the Youth Work in Trades Performance Award for having the highest program registration in the Cariboo region. The award includes $5,000 in funding to assist the district with development of its program, which used to be known as the Secondary School Apprenticeship program. Similar awards were handed out to school districts in seven other regions of the province.
ITA Chief Operating Officer Jeff Lekstrom noted that the Youth Work in Trades program has several partners adding “we’re going to recognize the youth, school district and employers as well.” He says “in this region right now it’s a great time to be a youth. There’s a lot of opportunity with the school districts to gain experience in the trades and the district has great support.”
“They work hand-in-hand with the college on some programs here so with both of those being right here in Prince George they’ve got everything that they need to make career decisions and choices to get into trades programs in the north.”
Youth Work in Trades is a dual credit program that allows students to begin their work-based training component of an apprenticeship while still in secondary school. Eighty percent of the training occurs on the work site, twenty percent in the classroom. Youth Work in Trades makes the students aware of the opportunities available and helps them get hands-on experience in trades training.
Lekstrom says ITA “has a number of different programs that are designed to. I guess, cast the net a little wider for youth so that they start thinking about trades training or careers at a younger age. We go down into Grade 4, 5 with events for those grades and we move into Grade 6, 7, 8. By the time they get into Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 they can make some informed decisions about careers.”
“They can do all their pre-requisites in say Grade 11, move into a program in Grade 12 which is called Train in Trades and they can go to the college, decide what trades program they want to do and end up coming out with Level 1 of their technical training done. It’s a dual credit program so by the time they graduate they have their Dogwood as well as Level 1 in a technical training trade. And it gives them a little leg up in the work force, they then kind of have some direction and its a pathway that opens up a lot of doors for them.”
Communications Director Susan Kirk added “we find that if students do both the Train in Trades, which is the in-class portion, as well as the Work in Trades which is working with the employer and acting as an apprentice, in a sense, and getting paid, that there’s over a 50% continuation rate into apprenticeship, so it really works well for them to do both.”
She also notes that. on average, most apprenticeships run four years before you get your ticket and “most often they finish it with no debt because they’ve been getting paid for 80% of their training.” On top of that there are apprenticeship grants available plus grants and tax incentives for employers who have apprentices.
Lekstrom says “the quality of training students are receiving is exactly the same as what adults are receiving and we have a lot of employers who have said to us that they will prefer to take somebody right out of high school and they’ll work with them. It’s kind of a test drive, right? It’s a test drive for the employer, it’s a test drive for the student if they’re in a high school yet to see if that’s actually what they want to do. It’s a win-win for everybody in the system.”
Grade 12 student Hayden Wendt is in the heavy duty mechanics trade and says “I’ve been in this program since February, we’re done this (coming) February so its a year toward my apprenticeship. I’ve been working for Lo-Bar Logging the whole time through, I’m a registered apprentice now and it’s awesome.”
“The biggest thing for me is being able to walk out of this with my first year apprenticeship, getting hours toward going back for my second year, it’s really a good opportunity for me. I’ve wanted to be a heavy duty mechanic since I was about 13 years old so taking these steps is getting me closer and closer to being a registered mechanic and making my major goal.”
Hayden says he definitely likes the 80-20 ratio of work site time to classroom time but recognizes the importance of both. “Hands-on is the way that I personally learn, that’s the way I like it but you need the theory. If you want to go anywhere in this trade the theory is just as big as the hands-on to passing these tests. You need to know what’s in the book. So for me, I like to do the hands-on more but it’s equally as important to me.”
After completing Grade 12 next spring Hayden will continue working to make sure he has enough hours in and will be heading to college to complete the other three years of his apprenticeship training.