A field trip with a future

About 600 Surrey elementary students got to test drive a career in the trades at Kwantlen Polytechnic University's Cloverdale campus.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University plumbing student Justin Lavia helps Sukhdeep Sahota

With activities like bending copper piping, crimping a joint, and making initials out of metal pipe, last week’s field trip to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Cloverdale campus was certainly hands-on.

About 600 elementary students swarmed onto KPU’s trades and technology campus March 6, where they were invited to test drive a trades career.

Areas were set up for students to try on functional and safety gear, watch demonstrations, meet with trades instructors and even try their hand at plumbing, electrical, carpentry, automotive and appliance servicing at activity stations.

The campus welcomed future electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters and automotive technicians who are still in elementary school through a partnership between the Surrey School District and KPU, with support from the Industry Training Authority.

Students in Grades 6 and 7 – and their parents and teachers – were invited to learn more about the opportunities offered by a career in trades in a field trip that’s the first of its kind in Surrey.

“This is a chance for students to explore in a very real way what a trades career looks like,” said Susan Chow, principal of career education for the Surrey School District. “Few students have the benefit of insight like this at their age.”

Having parents along helps them understand the wide range of options out there as they guide their children in their post-secondary choices in the years ahead.

“Parents play an important role in post-secondary education, from providing insight and guidance to financial aid,” said Henry Reiser, KPU’s dean of trades and technology. “We want them to feel confident about their children’s career choice and there is no better way than to show them the possibilities first-hand.”

Dual credit apprenticeship programs are already offered by the district in partnership with KPU and other post-secondary institutions, giving high school students credit towards training programs before graduation.

“Hands on, fun and interactive events like this provide young students a chance to build and create something and get a sense of the pride and accomplishment in doing so,” said Erin Johnston, ITA director of training delivery.

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