School District 63 (Saanich) students received a trades training infusion of more than $545,000 from the province recently. Province of BC

School District 63 (Saanich) students received a trades training infusion of more than $545,000 from the province recently. Province of BC

Saanich school district receives $545,000 in provincial funds for trades training

Tim Collins

News contributor

Students in School District 63 (Saanich) will receive $545,699 over the next three years to help promote training for young people considering a future in the trades.

The money is part of a $1.75 million commitment for trades equipment for the capital region’s school districts. As part of the same program, School District 61 (Greater Victoria) will receive $843,624 and School District 62 (Sooke) will receive $365,651.

“Trades careers are a great option for youth who are passionate about making a difference in the every day lives of British Columbians. investments in youth trades training like this are important to ensure our students are given the opportunities to explore different trades careers to find the one that suits their interests,” said Gary Herman, the CEO of the Industry Training Authority (ITA).

The ITA is a provincial government agency with the mandate to promote training in trades and industrial occupations in the province.

“These programs are very important. When I was young, kids had the chance to tinker with tools, watch dad fix the family car and basically get some exposure to working on trades related tasks.

“They could get a sense of whether it was something they had a desire to do as a career,” said Herman.

“Times have changed and those opportunities have been lost to a certain extent.”

Herman observed that the new youth “shops programs” targeted by these funds will help by casting a wider net much earlier with the intent of giving young people exposure to the trades as early as grade 5.

“If we can increase the number of young people interested in the trades, we can go a long way to alleviating the shortfall in trained workers we anticipate for the future. In the next eight years we’re going to need about 123,000 new skilled trades workers. At our current rate of certification we’ll produce only about half that number,” he said.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, is also high on the new funding.

“We are expecting up to a million job openings in B.C. by 2025 and the majority of those jobs will require some post secondary or skills training. This program is a critical part of our youth trades training plan–a plan that maps a clear pathway from school to apprenticeship and into local, family-supporting jobs,” she said.

In Saanich, the funding will go to schools where they will be used to purchase equipment including cold saws, scroll saws and sanders.