NDIT high-school trades program expanded across islands

Students on Haida Gwaii will now have more opportunities to prepare themselves for the world.

Students on Haida Gwaii will now have more opportunities to prepare themselves for the world. Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) along with the province have recently announced that more students in B.C.’s north will be able to connect with the skills and experience they need for the jobs of the future through an expanded $4.9 million Shoulder Tappers program.

Shoulder Tappers are career counsellors or educators who work closely with school districts, the industry training authority, The Career Education Society, industry and other organizations to help students benefit from exposure to trades and technical training. They also help connect students with an on-the-job experience, allowing them to graduate with dual credits towards advanced training in the trades.

The program  has been hailed as a success in Northeast B.C. with an increase in the number of graduates. With the success of the program the Ministry of Education and NDIT have now expanded the program to include the Northwest. School District Superintendent Angus Wilson welcomes the new funding and told the Observer, “It should be good to go for a number of years.”

Last year the Ministry of Education provided School District 50 with special funding to assist in coordinating career development and skills training programs including dual credit partnerships.

With the new funding from the ministry and NDIT will see the program extended for another five years. “The issue for us here being a small school district is the exposure to the trades,” Mr. Wilson said.

The program was partnered with the Northwest Community College (NWCC) and School District 50 in the 2014-15 school year. George M. Dawson high school took advantage of NWCC trades trailers to offer better learning opportunities for students, who built fully functioning bathrooms that were auctioned off with the funds going back into the program.

Queen Charlotte Secondary School will now have their turn at trades. The students will be building their own trades trailers starting in January. “Each one will have a specific purpose,” Mr. Wilson explained.

Over the next three years a new kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum is being phased in with new standards in mathematics, sciences and applied design, skills and technology. It supports opportunities for students to develop the problem-solving and creative thinking skills needed for success in B.C.’s tech sector.