Students can earn credits through apprenticeship program in SD73

More than 100 students in the region earning high-school credits while working on the job

By Dale Bass

Kamloops This Week

There are more than 100 students in the region earning high-school credits while working on the job.

They are enrolled in the Kamloops-Thompson school district’s secondary school apprenticeship program and as they work hours, the learning they’re doing goes toward up to 16 credits toward graduation.

Ron Collins, the district’s vice-principal for trades and transitions, said the program is one of the most successful of its kind in the province.

Students must work in courses alongside certified journeymen — although the Industry Training Authority, which is a partner with the program can sign off on those whose learning has come through years of doing rather than through education alone.

For example, there’s a student working alongside a cook at a restaurant. The cook has learned through the years and the ITA has confirmed the cook meets the necessary criteria.

About 40 businesses are involved this year, Collins said, and they’re always looking for more.

Employers are engaging with the program because it gives them potential apprentices who have had some training to prepare for a trade.

A local contractor has agreed to take on a couple of students for the summer who have completed foundations courses at the NorKam Trades and Technology Centre, for example, because they can start working the first day, having learned the basics in the centre’s classrooms and workshops.

There are also tax credits available for employers at the Red Seal and non-red Seal levels.

The benefits for the students include experiencing a trade — they might decide they love it or it’s not for them — achieving the credits for graduation and being able to apply those apprenticeship hours toward their own Red Seal certification.

There’s also potential for a $1,000 award if a set number of hours is achieved.

Employers and students interested can get more information from Collins by emailing rcollins@sd73.bc.ca or by calling 250-318-7492.