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Pilot Program Encourages Youth to Consider a Career in Skilled Trades

May 1, 2013

MTL May 1 2013

Education Minister Nancy Allan (left) and Winnipeg Construction Association President Ron Hambly (centre) look on as Elmwood High School student Samuel Lopez and carpentry instructor Frank Jess build a toolbox in one of RRC’s Mobile Training Labs.

Red River College and Manitoba Education are helping to boost trades training through a pilot project that provides Winnipeg youth a hands-on introduction to the trades.

The pilot program provides up to 25 students in Grades 7 and 8 the opportunity to “try out” the type of work typically done by electricians, carpenters and welders. Students from Elmwood High School are attending Red River College once a week for three weeks, to learn about career options in the trades.

“The pilot program is intended to expose young people to the trades as a viable career option,” says Stephanie Forsyth, President, Red River College. “One of the ways to get more young people interested in the trades is to give them more hands-on experience, and help them identify a skill they would love to acquire.”

According to Skills Canada, over the next two decades employers in Canada will find it difficult to hire and retain skilled workers. However, a Statistics Canada survey in 2009 showed just 26% of young people aged 13 to 24 plan to consider a career in the skilled trades.

“The future of Manitoba is being trained here today. These students are gaining valuable experience through hands-on learning,” says Education Minister Nancy Allan. “Projects like these expose students to new potential career opportunities that will lead to good jobs and build our province.”

The students will also meet with elders-in-residence to learn more about the College’s School of Indigenous Education and the supports and services it provides.

In addition, students will be exposed to one of the College’s mobile training labs. Each lab consists of a 53-foot trailer with pop-out sides that can quickly transform into a 950 square-foot training facility. They will also visit the Stevenson Campus to become more aware of careers in the aerospace industry.

“In addition to piquing their interest in the trades, we want all young people to feel welcome at Red River College and be assured they are valued,” says Forsyth. “Once high school is over, we’d love to see them back here to train for a rewarding career.”

The College and province will assess the pilot program, with a view to expanding it to other provincial schools next year.

For more information contact: April Krahn, Aboriginal Student Support & Community Relations, AKrahn@RRC.CA, or 204-795-1685.