Students explore career options

Parksville Qualicum District 69 program aims to bring students, parents and employers together

Kwalikum Secondary auto teacher Luc Ouellet helps Brayden Hensworth

Grade 7 and 8 students from across District 69 (Qualicum) got a chance to get their hands dirty as part of a YES to IT trades fair.

An initiative of the Industry Training Authority and B.C. Ministry of Education, Youth Exploring Skills to Industry Training (YES to IT) brought dozens of trades companies and organizations straight to the young students in an effort to get them thinking about career options.

The program aimed to bring students, parents and employers together with around 30 “try a trade” booths and another dozen educational and community group displays along with an evening presentation to parents on what industry has to offer their children.

“I know it’s an overused word, but the students really are engaged,” said SD69 trustee Eve Flynn in the gym filled with hammering, soldering, drilling, painting and constructing of all sorts.

Students spent 75 minutes excitedly trying everything from masonry and pipe fitting to aesthetics, jet design and finger printing with the RCMP at Qualicum Beach Middle School Monday.

“Search and rescue is a good gateway to other emergency services,” pointed out Arrowsmith Search and Rescue spokesperson Barry Blair who was showing students how pulleys lighten the work of pulling people in stretchers.

While students lined up to play with the stretchers like sleds and climb the Qualicum Beach Fire Department’s extended ladder, the focus was on the trades that will be needed in the coming years.

Trades jobs are predicted to exceed the number of “qualified” workers in B.C. as of 2016, making hands-on jobs more appealing for today’s young students than ever, explained SD69 Career Education Coordinator Stephen Stahley.

Stahley and the program point out an apprentice can expect to earn $14 to $17 per hour, plus benefits in their first four years. A journeyman can make over $30 per hour, and a foreman can make $35 to $45 per hour.

“The beauty of earning an apprenticeship is that after only one year of schooling and tuition, an apprentice can begin making some ‘good money,'” he said by e-mail. “This is certainly something to consider for those young people who like to work with their hands and cannot afford the tuition and living expenses associated with four or more years of university study.”

Stahley encourages students of any age and their parents to consider some of the options available while still in high school including apprenticeship and dual credit programs.

Contact your school’s career centre or administration office for more information.

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