A long-established program will expand so students have more opportunities for the future.
The Vernon School District has increased the forestry program at Charles Bloom to a full year so it can branch out into carpentry, plumbing, electrical, welding and automotive.
“There is a huge demand for trades and the Ministry of Education really wants students to go into the trades,” said Tim Thorpe, career co-ordinator.
“Students will have an opportunity to try several different kinds of trades.”
It was decided to broaden the scope of the forestry program partly because there have been fewer participants in recent years.
“We need to do this for the students, the district and the community,” said Martin Tooms, forestry teacher.
“Trades as a career represents a solution for students who don’t go to university.”
Sixteen Grade 11 students would go through the program in the first semester and 16 Grade 12 students in the second semester.
“It’s nice to see a trades sampler so kids can determine what they excel at,” said trustee Mitzi Fortin.
However, while the school board has agreed to a full-year for the program, a budget has not been determined yet for the expanded curriculum.
About $42,000 would be needed in the first year to purchase tools while additional funds would be needed for busing.
“We are looking at partnerships and support,” said Bryan Out, CBSS principal, adding that industry is being asked to participate in the new initiative.
“This is about investing in our kids and their future.”