As the high school graduates cross the stage, they are suddenly faced with a simple and stressful question: what next? When students wonder what their future looks like, the BC government wants them to consider the skilled trades.
“Right now, and you’ll hear from businesses, you’ll hear from construction contractors and building owners, they’ll be talking about this as a crisis and in many ways it is,” said Andrew Mercier. , MPP for Langley and Member of Parliament. Vocational Training Secretary.
The BC government anticipates a significant demographic shift in the trades. It is expected that about 70% of this change will be caused by retirements, which will create more than 80,000 jobs over the next ten years. To make up for lost workers, the BC government is trying to get young people into the trades earlier. Part of their effort to incentivize trades is to help change the perception of trades.
Mercier said the BC government is looking to increase the professionalization of the trades.
“One thing we’ve done is we’ve introduced skilled trades certification for ten trades,” Mercier said.
The goal of introducing more certifications is to add prestige to an industry that is inherently valuable, but has often been socially undermined, something the BC government is working to fix.
With so many jobs opening up over the next decade, Mercier said people would benefit from considering trades.
“If you are a young person looking for a career or if you are someone looking to change careers, this is an opportunity, there has never been a better time to enter the skilled trades than now,” Mercier said. .
In Revelstoke, high school offers students the opportunity to get involved in a trade while they are still in school. Through work experience courses, students can get involved with — and work with — a Revelstoke company that offers experience, money, and credits toward graduation. Work experience can be in a variety of different businesses in the community, including trades.
“The hope with the work experience, especially in the trades, is that it would turn into what’s called a work-in-the-trades program,” said experience coordinator Kristen Scheiber. work and career education at Revelstoke High School.
The high school tries to work with the local Okanagan College Detachment to help students transition to the next stage of their careers, whether in trades or further education.
“The programming that we bring to Revelstoke, we try to maximize opportunities for the community,” said Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean of the Revelstoke Campus of Okanagan College.
College courses are offered to students who are still in high school and to those who have already finished. For students still in high school, tuition may be subsidized by the district. Through the Columbia Basin Trust, Ragsdale said there are also funds available to cover tuition for those not in high school.
The college introduces a trade by rotation. Previously, they had a culinary program and a carpentry program. For the latter, the class helped build a house in Revelstoke as part of the training.
Mercier recommended anyone considering a future in the trades to visit findyourtrade.ca or speak to one of their learning advisors to learn more about their options.
Scheiber also added that for trades companies interested in hiring an apprentice, there are financial benefits to doing so, including wage subsidies through the government, the Columbia Basin Trust and the district.
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