Training & Education
Selling skilled trades to Grades 6 and 7 at Kwantlen Polytechnic
By Anthony Capkun
March 7, 2014 – Future electricians, plumbers, welders, carpenters and automotive technicians who are still in elementary school had their first look at a rewarding career in the trades on March 6, when some 600 Grade 6 and 7 students from the Surrey school district went on a unique field trip to Kwantlen Polytechnic University’ trades and technology campus (KPU Tech) in Cloverdale.
“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 Surrey Schools. “Few students have the benefit of insight like this at their age.”
The trip’s objective was to expose young students and their families to the countless benefits and opportunities offered by a career in the trades. It is the result of a partnership between the district and KPU, with support from the Industry Training Authority (ITA).
The 11- and 12-year-old students were given a tour of the campus and took part in hands-on activities. “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 from doing so,” said ITA director of training delivery, Erin Johnston. They were also able to talk to faculty and current KPU trades students.
KPU and the district also invited the parents of the 600 participating students to come along. “Parents play an important role in post-secondary education, from providing insight and guidance to financial aid,” said Henry Reiser, KPU’s dean in the Faculty 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.”
The field trip was funded by ITA’s Youth Exploring Skills to Industry Training (YES 2 IT) program—a joint initiative between ITA and the Ministry of Education. It was also made possible with support from Honeywell, the Automotive Training Standards Organization, Clear Marketing, BC Fasteners, Noble Plumbing and Southridge Building Supplies.