Exploring the World of the Trades in High School
High schoolers can explore a myriad of subjects and ideas before taking the next steps into adulthood. With so much focus placed on core academic subjects such as math, science, and English, other paths can fall by the wayside. For those looking to pursue the trades industry, there are multiple options to investigate. It is important to start early to ensure you expose yourself to as many opportunities as possible. In doing so, you can find the experiences, networking connections, and organizations that form the foundation of a successful career.
For example, those in British Columbia may want to take a look at the many training partners within the province. Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey offers the ACE-IT Transition Program. High school students have the opportunity to commence training in the trades before graduating from secondary school and beginning their post-secondary studies. In north-eastern British Columbia, students can turn to the Northern Opportunities organization for apprenticeships. These opportunities include work in the oil and gas fields, industrial instrumentation mechanics, automotive services, carpentry, and more. The South Island Partnership and Tru Start offer similar programs, and these types of organizations can be found elsewhere.
Over in Orillia, Ontario, students can head to Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School for a very unique trade show. “Explore the Trades” fills the gymnasium with displays by local manufacturers. Young people have the chance to talk to professionals and learn about the different career paths in the industry. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program in Simcoe takes on approximately 150 students annually for apprenticeship programs, providing them hands-on experience before they even enter the workforce. Opportunities like these are open to students in different provinces, and although the industry is represented by men at a staggering 97%, opportunities abound for women as well.
Co-Op & OYAP, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, helps girls in Niagara, Ontario find chances to succeed in the industry. These experiences includes the Skills Work for Women Networking Dinner with tradeswomen that also provides hands-on activities. There are also grants, such as one that offers free registration to the Southern Ontario VEX Robotics Championship. As youth become more knowledgeable and resourceful with technology and research, as well as less defined by outdated gender norms, that 3% of women in the trades is sure to grow. The District School Board of Niagara is just one organization looking to help young people find their way in the trades industry.
If the industry intrigues you, then the best thing you can do is start researching. You may be surprised at all of the grants, apprenticeships, shows, and networking opportunities that exist near you. As you continue to pursue your high school diploma, you can combine that education with invaluable experience that will ensure you have a bright path forward in the trades industry.
Bleasby, John. Explore the Trades event promotes our industry to high schoolers in Orillia, ON. http://www.canadiancontractor.ca/canadian-contractor/orillias-explore-trades-brings-business-education-communities-one-roof/1003278431/
Co-Op & OYAP. Women in Trades. http://oyap.dsbn.org/skilled-trades/women-in-trades
Discover Skills BC. Trades Training in High School. http://discoverskillsbc.ca/training/trades-training-in-high-school/
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