By Anthony Capkun
February 20, 2013 – Students in grades 5 though 10 are getting a unique opportunity to test-drive future careers in skilled trades in communities throughout British Columbia, courtesy of YES 2 IT.
YES 2 IT (Youth Exploring Skills to Industry Training) is a community-based, interactive program that gives young students in the province a chance to experience skilled trades and make connections with tradespersons in their communities. By introducing them to trades at an early age, it’s anticipated that more students will pursue trades training in their senior grades as they work toward graduation.
“Many students simply aren’t aware of the many opportunities in the skilled trades that speak to their interests and potential, and provide a career where you get paid to do what you’re passionate about,” said Kevin Evans, CEO of B.C.’s Industry Training Authority. “Our YES 2 IT program is a hands-on way for students at a young age to kick the tires and check out a wide variety of trades and career pathways.”
Specific programs vary among communities. For example, at an event in Princeton, Grade 7 students worked with a journeyman carpenter to learn about constructing benches, stands and planter soil boxes.
YES 2 IT is sponsored by the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and participating school districts. In 2012-13, ITA is providing $40,000 to provincial school districts to put toward YES 2 IT projects that increase youth awareness of the trades, and $150,000 for First Hand programs at Skills Canada BC regional competitions.
The program is supported by the BC Jobs Plan and the BC Skills and Training Plan, which invests $75 million for new capital and equipment to complement $500 million in annual investments in skills and trades training programs.