The warm scent of fresh lumber fills the large Fulton Secondary shop as drills sing and students work to wrap up their semester projects.
Electrical wires wrap around a wooden structure like vines on a chain-link fence with incandescent bulbs burning bright as the shop buzzer sounds. It’s time to clean up and end the course, the first of which to be offered at Fulton Secondary.
Made possible by $100 per student funding from the Industry Training Authority BC (ITA) and lumber donations from Tolko and Caravan Farm Theatre, Fulton shop teacher Eli Silver said the Youth Exploring the Trades Program has been a pleasure to teach.
“The program does an excellent job of giving students a sampling of the trades,” Silver said. “Without the ITA funding, we wouldn’t be able to run it like this without charging any fees.”
The course, open for Grades 9-12, provides students with an overview of carpentry, electrical, plumbing and a brief exploration in robotics.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Silver said. “If you don’t know what you want to do, trades can be an excellent career.”
Students were tasked with making picnic tables during the five month semester. Once completed, the tables will be donated back to Caravan Farm Theatre.
Other course tasks include creating sprinkler systems as part of the plumbing exploration, 3D modelling with the robotics component and three way light switch wiring for the electrical strain.
“It kind of broadened my horizons so I could see everything out there,” said Grade 12 student Alec Watson, who plans on pursuing a career as a heavy duty technician. “Silver did an amazing job with handling everybody. He really kept the class together.”
Many of the program strains that the course overviews have several year wait-lists, Silver said, adding that the course allows students to test the waters before committing time and money to any specific trade.
For Grade 11 student Nicolus Zibin, the program’s forray into electrical work left its mark.
“When I first started, I wanted to be in carpentry,” Zibin said. “But as it went on, I learned I like electrical work. It (the program) was a little bit of everything. I had help too, so I learned that there’s more to it. Teamwork is a lot more fun than working on your own.”
Like many of the class’s 19 students Zibin, who plans to delve deeper into the electrical industry, put in extra work to further test his preferred field in the course’s realistic simulation of the job.
And for Silver, that’s what the program is all about.
“The whole emphasis of the program is they’re trying to get kids exposed to the trades,” Silver said. “It’s about opening potential doors, making kids aware and getting the word out.”