For the second year in a row Gibraltar Mines has high school students from Williams Lake and 100 Mile House working on site to gain hours toward their apprenticeships.
“We are excited to offer this opportunity to high school students in our district,” said Robyn West, superintendent with the mine’s human resources.
During the placement the students will work alongside certified journeyman tradesman, working hands-on learning various aspects of the trade.
“The students’ supervisor ensures the students are exposed to all aspects to provide them with the experience they require to continue, and excel, in their apprenticeship,” West added.
Presently there are two electrical students and two welding students at the mine. In 2014, there were four electrical students, West said.
The program is ongoing throughout the year, however, students are typically placed in the summer months — late July or August.
Funding for the placements at Gibraltar and other places are made possible by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) who for 2015-2016 will give the Cariboo Chilcotin School District $20,000 for the Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) program support.
The funds will support the Cariboo Chilcotin School District in placing SSA students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 with local employers to attain practical experience. Students will “earn while they learn” and gain credit towards their high school diploma and the apprenticeship portion of their trades training.
“SSA is an excellent way to help our young people get a head start into a career in trades,” School District 27 career programs co-ordinator Dave Corbett said. “We have had a number of secondary students in the Cariboo Chilcotin benefit from this program and continue to see an increase as more and more students pursue an apprenticeship while still attending school.”
Last year’s SSA registration numbers were the highest they have been since the 2009 pre-recession years. In 2014-15, 1,048 students registered in SSA programs across B.C., representing an increase of more than 10 per cent over 2013-14.
“This funding will provide students with skills development through practical, hands-on experience,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said. “Our region will need skilled workers in the years ahead and these students are in a prime position to earn those jobs.”
“The youth play a pivotal role in sustaining B.C.’s future economic boom,” ITA chief executive officer Gary Herman said. “There are more skilled tradespeople retiring from the workforce than entering it, so we need to support the youth in trades training so they are ready to respond to the increasing demand in the labour market.”