THE COAST Mountains school district wants to introduce a new option for trades training to younger students next year.
The district is hoping to offer an Intro to Trades course to Grade 10 students in Terrace next year in what school district official Brent Speidel, says is a pilot program for the rest of the school district.
Speidel explained the program will be like a hands-on introduction where in the second semester students will alternate classes on a two-week rotation between Caledonia Senior Secondary and Northwest Community College (NWCC). Students will spend a total of 10 weeks at the college.
At NWCC students will sample a variety of trades such as welding, electrical, carpentry and heavy equipment operator, says Lorrie Gowen, regional manager, work force training and continuing studies at the college.
“The idea is to give them a taste, so they can make a decision,” said Gowen, who has been working on the program in cooperation with the school district.
Currently there are two programs at the Grade 11 and 12 level, which offer students accredited trade hours toward their chosen career along with course credits toward graduation.
“What this does is let kids really get an idea of what they are looking at so they can set the table for Grade 11 and 12,” Speidel said, explaining that after having this introduction at the Grade 10 level, students will have a better grip in their senior years of high school on what trades training path they may wish to pursue. “We are asking kids in Grade 10 to start making some adult choices on what they what to do,” Speidel finished.
He said the program will be easier to offer in the upcoming year because of the new middle school in the district, where all Grade 7 – 9 students attend Skeena Junior Secondary and all Grade 10 students will be shifted to Caledonia. “This coming year with all of the Grade 10s being at Caledonia our costs are significantly reduced,” he said, noting it will be easier, for example, to arrange for student transportation to the college from just one school.