Sexsmith and Beaverlodge students gaining valuable career experience through partnerships with Merit Contractors Association and local industry
Two Grade 10 students from Beaverlodge Regional High School (BRHS) and six from Sexsmith Secondary School (SSS) are among those taking advantage of the new Fast Track to the Trades Program that offers introductions to industry and trades skill building. The program – a partnership between Merit Contractors Association, Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC), the three local school divisions, and local industry – was celebrated at a luncheon at GPRC on May 29, 2017.
Through the program, students participate in one-day ventures to local businesses and summer placements that could lead to permanent employment, if the student-employer relationship is successful. Students typically enter the program in Grade 10, continuing through to graduation. Successful students earn a Construction Safety Training System (CSTS) ticket, completed outside of school hours, that is recognized anywhere.
Since entering the program this year, Daylon Dupuis, a Grade 10 student at BRHS, has already completed one-day ventures to Lee's Sheet Metal and Grande Prairie Landscaping. Also enroled in the program are BRHS student Blake Souther and SSS Grade 10 students Austin Crane, Dylan Moodie and Zak Wagner and Grade 11 students Sjoerd Hoekstra, Alex White and Justin Toews.
"The opportunities are tremendous – take advantage of them, please," said Loren Schultz, Fast Track to the Trades Program Coordinator, in his remarks at the luncheon. Mr. Schultz connects industry partners with school-based Off-Campus Coordinators.
PWSD's Alternative Education Principal Jason Caufield says, "Now that the economy is picking up, industry representatives are telling me they are experiencing a shortage in trades staffing. They are keenly focused on developing local entry-level talent, so this is a fantastic opportunity for students. Connecting with industry partners and test driving a trade will aid greatly in their career decision-making process. The program also offers options for the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP)."
In addition to Merit Contracting Association, PWSD extends gratitude to participating industry partners who are providing students with vital career experience: ATCO Electric, A.W.H. Electric, Canadiana Homes, Cookshaw Electric, Daytona Homes, Design Works Engineering, Dirham Homes, D.R. Sales Woodworking, Grande Prairie Landscaping, Highmark Homes, H.W.D. Construction Ltd., Indoor Elements, IPAC Services Corporation, JET Gas & Heating Ltd., J.M.S. Construction, Lee's Sheet Metal, Magnum Electric, Norwest Construction, O'Toole Plumbing, Overhead Door, PhoneCo, Schmidt's Painting Ltd., and Tyco Integrated Fire and Security.
Top, left-right: PWSD Alternative Education Principal Jason Caufield, Beaverlodge Regional High School Grade 10 student Daylon Dupuis, Fast Track to the Trades Program Off-Campus Coordinator Loren Schultz, and PWSD Superintendent Sheldon Rowe.
Below: Industry partners pose with Fast Track to the Trades Off-Campus Coordinators and students from the three local school divisions.