For The Morning Star
According to the Financial Post, “Skilled trades talent shortage is next crisis for Canadian businesses.”
“In Canada, we don’t have language that conveys the idea of high prestige in a trade. In Europe, I think there is more of a vocabulary. We have to find a way to create an opportunity in the school system for kids to make those choices,” says Michael Bloom, vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning at the Ottawa-based Conference Board
It used to be so easy for parents and students this time of the year. In April most high school students are selecting their courses for next year and not really thinking too much of it. Select a math course, a science course, a social course, an English course and then a few electives and you’re done.
Times have changed drastically and both parents and students need to do their research.
With the current graduation program all students have the capabilities of graduating by the end of their first semester of Grade 12. Many colleges are now adjusting programs so that a high school student could be graduating at the end of January and be a college student by the start of February. This would be an ideal transition plan for any student but it usually only works out for a very few.
What students should be doing is taking advantage of a few of the ITA (Industry Training Authority) and Ministry of Education’s programs that allow students to enrol in college programs while completing their Grade 10, 11 and 12 years. The best part, tuition is paid by the school district, and currently many of the colleges are covering additional costs like books, travel and extra student fees.
Two of the most popular ITA programs include ACE-IT (Accelerated Credit Enrolment for Industry Training) and SSA (Secondary School Apprenticeship). The main difference between the two programs is that ACE-IT is school-based and SSA is workplace based.
Like other apprentices, secondary school apprentices are responsible for finding an employer who will hire them and commit to their training as a sponsor. By registering as a secondary school apprentice, you will be able to earn dual credit for the work you’re already doing, become eligible for a $1,000 scholarship, and get a head start on earning your trade certification.
Students now have the opportunity to enrol, not only in all the trades programs, but almost any certificate program offered at the college level. The most popular in our school district is the Okanagan College administrative assistant program.
The ITA, responsible for all trades and apprenticeships, has just announced that the hairstylist trade has been recertified. What this means is that every hairdresser in B.C. must be Red Seal-certified to work in B.C. Every hairdresser certified after 2003 will have to challenge the Red Seal exam and complete a practical exam to be able to work in British Columbia.
We have had our hairdressing students write the Red Seal national exam for the last 10 years and this year we once again had the highest completion rate in the province at 87 per cent.
Another dilemma I am dealing with is students selecting too many academic courses which aren’t required for the university programs that they want to enrol in. One example is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which currently is the most competitive program followed closely by Engineering. Universities will give you the minimum requirements as a C+ or 67 per cent in your four Grade 12 courses.
The reality is that last year at UBCO the entrance for the nursing program was around 90 per cent.
I have a student applying for nursing at Mount Royal University in Calgary where the minimum requirement of the four Grade 12 courses — English 12, Pre-Calculus 12, Chemistry 12 and Biology 12 — is stated at 70 per cent. They had 1,600 applicants for 210 spots and the average for acceptance was 93 per cent.
Students need to do their research and know the prerequisites and concentrate on achieving high marks in the required university courses.
Any Vernon SD 22 students interested in the Hairdressing Program for February 2017 are encouraged to sign up for the Student For Day program offered for Vernon — students today only. Please contact your school career counsellor or phone the Career Centre at PVSS, 250- 546-3144, ext 206.
I encourage all parents and students to contact the career counsellor at your local high school. PVSS is currently accepting applications for the next February 2017 cosmetology class. This is open to all current Grade 10, 11 and 12 students in both the Vernon School District and North Okanagan- Shuswap School District.
Paul Britton is Career Trades/Transitions Coordinator at Pleasant Valley Secondary in Armstrong, has been involved in Career Programs in B.C. for more than 30 years and once worked as the provincial coordinator for the Secondary School Apprenticeship program.