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Elementary students try their hand at trades
Future electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters and automotive technicians who are still in elementary school had their first look at a career in the trades on March 6.
The aspiring tradespeople – some 600 Grade 6 and 7 students from the Surrey School District – went on a unique field trip to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s trades and technology campus (KPU Tech) in Cloverdale.
The trip’s objective was to expose young students and their families to the benefits and opportunities offered by a career in the trades.
“This is a chance for students to explore in a very real way what a trades career looks like,” says Susan Chow, principal of career education for Surrey schools. “Few students have the benefit of insight like this at their age.”
The field trip is the result of a partnership between the district and KPU, with support from the Industry Training Authority (ITA).
KPU Tech provides leading-edge trades and technology programming aimed at meeting the rising demand for skilled trades workers and apprenticeships.
The 11- and 12-year-old students were given a tour of the campus and took part in hands-on activities. They were also able to talk with faculty and current KPU trades students.
“Together we are able to show young learners that there are countless career paths into trades and technology, many of which can lead to a KPU degree,” says Henry Reiser, KPU’s dean in the faculty of trades and technology.
KPU and the district also invited parents of the 600 participating students to come along on the field trip.
“Parents play an important role in post-secondary education, from providing insight and guidance to financial aid,” says Reiser. “We want them to feel confident about their children’s career choice.”
Chow adds that having parents attend also helps them understand the vast array of opportunities available, and connects them back to the dual credit apprenticeship programs already offered by the district in partnership with KPU and other post-secondary institutions.
The Accelerated Credit Enrolment to Industry Training model gives high school students credit toward technical training programs before graduation.
The field trip was funded by the ITA’s Youth Exploring Skills to Industry Training. It was also made possible with support from Honeywell, the Automotive Training Standards Organization, Clear Marketing, BC Fasteners, Noble Plumbing and Southridge Building Supplies.