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REPORTING · 28th October 2011
Walter McFarlane
With all the projects promised to our region in the following years, the School Board approved consideration of a pilot program so Grade Ten students can learn trades. Trustee Lynn Newbury brought this motion forward from the Education Committee to the School Board at the October 26th regular meeting.

“This opportunity for Grade 10 Students to be introduced to the trades,” said Newbury after the meeting. “That just is a phenomenal opportunity for our students and given what’s happening in the Northwest, and particularly in Kitimat now, we know that we’re going to need lots of qualified trades people and this will give grade ten students, males and females an opportunity to chase a number of different trades and see if that’s a career that they would like to pursue.”

The pilot program will go to Caledonia Secondary School in Terrace. Newbury pointed out it would meet three of their goals as educators. It would increase success and decrease failure, it would engage students in their education and would focus on the learners.

School Board Superintendent Nancy Wells commented the economic development going on in this Region would create opportunities for the trades. Director of Instruction, Brent Speidel stated Grade Ten is the year where students start earning credits for graduation. He also stated this decision to go into trades could not be made halfway into Grade 11 or into Grade 12.

“By putting this program at the Grade 10 Level, it gives a number of those students an opportunity to get a clear picture of what it is that they might be doing so they could put those plans in motion and then move through proper basic training and secondary school apprenticeship programs,” said Speidel.

The program will alter the course work which these students will do. It takes up their entire second semester. Forty students will be divided into two groups of twenty who will alternate between course work in school and trades work at Northwest Community College in two week intervals.

The trades which students can learn are Plumbing/Pipefitting, Welding, Electrical, Carpentry, Automotive/Heavy Duty Mechanic. For course work, they will be taking English, Planning and Social Studies from one of their high school’s teachers.

Trustee Gary Turner expressed concerns about students acting up while they are unsupervised during breaks. It was explained the school will be talking with the parents about what their expectations of the students are. A student who washes out of the program for being unsafe would be put into an independent learning program for the two weeks they are at the school. Administration also explained there would be an application process for this program.

Trustee Tanis Kilpatrick wanted to know if the board approved the motion, if it will be included in the budget. She pointed out this program was supposed to be implemented in the 2011-2012 year but was put off due to lack of funding. She also stated there were other programs before the Education Committee which should also be considered.

The motion was called and carried. Newbury then discussed some of the other items before the education committee.

She commented she would like to see the program in her schools in Hazelton, as well as in Kitimat, although she was not certain how long it would take to put these programs into those two communities. She expressed the pilot should be successful and hopefully implemented into those schools quickly.
t - Re: tests, grades etc.
Comment by t on 6th November 2011
I would just like to say that I am talking about model students here. Not illiterate fools who can barely put their hands together to clap like monkeys. (not that illiterate people are fools in any way but that is what seems to be said below)

I am in awe that the general concensus is that these guys can't even read. Have any of you people tried welding or any kind of fabrication math? I think they deserve at least 3 credits for finding their way through the college application process.

The testing has nothing to do with what I am talking about. The men to whom I am refering to have top marks ( and they weren't given without the work) and no issues with testing on any level.

The issue lies with a lack of a LINK from school to trades and giving our local Govt. subsidized students priority in our area. On all levels of Govt. Period. That's it.

There is no issue I am aware of where people are not passing ITA test - and being shuffled through anyways.

These graduates can't even get a temp job in their field, within the Province of BC, so they can log their apprenticeship hours which qualifies them to receive their final ticket. That is the issue.

There is no further testing involved.
shot in the dark , re exams
Comment by ed on 30th October 2011
Colleges' make alot of money teaching these courses. Perhaps our college has lowered the bar to attract more students, knowing alot of them will not stick it out to completion anyway. Everyone is happy with their great test results, until the ITA test. Meetting minimum requirments will not guarantee you a job. You may only need grade 10 to take the level c welding program, but many employers will not accept anyone with less than grade 12.
On the other hand if the college is teaching all the skills needed to pass the ITA and some students are succesful while others are not, I would think those unsuccesful students would have to a good look at themselves and how much effort they put in compared to the succesful group
Why students fail ITA exams?
Comment by c. sandecki on 30th October 2011
I'm stepping off a cliff here. I have no idea what an ITA exam looks like -- practical hands-on? written? essay questions?
But if the trades' students are deficient in English, reading, and spelling, as so often demonstrated by on-line comments here and in other publications, perhaps the students fail to understand the questions or their written essay answers are too garbled.
The ability to read, spell, and write is helpful in most trades somewhere along the line if the person is to rise to a supervisory capacity.
Too bad our kids can't pass the ITA exams
Comment by Maggie Jo on 29th October 2011
'Not sure if there's a lack of communication between our local College and ITAC...but our kids can't seem to be pass the ITA exams; adding there were components on the exam that were not covered in class.

From my experience, the NWCC Trades instructors are FANTASTIC instructors/mentors to the Youth of our Community. They go above and beyond with instruction duty/mentoring. We truly need to recognize them for doing so.

The instructors teach each student on an individual/team basis; while keeping them engaged in the full requirements of the trades course.

My question: Why, when students often excel in marks at the College with 90% averages; are horrified to find they failed the ITA?!

Is ITAC not providing proper guidelines to local Colleges?

I certainly can understand the instructors' frustration in this regard with ITAC.

Too bad, cuz now all our local trades jobs are being offered to people abroad to come into our own local areas to fill, as we lack licensed upcoming trades people in our own area.

So much for employing locals, heh?

Oh well. It's all good. After all...McDonald's is hiring.
T ,you lost me
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 29th October 2011
Could you explain how a trades program is a local issue? In the past it has been a provincial jurisdiction. I am not saying you are wrong ,someone obviously told you this ,I just want to now for information purposes. I do however agree there isn't a coordinated effort to place students who have completed a variety of courses in our area. I have a daughter who has taken a variety of courses such as level 3 first aid and a security course at great expense to herself and still she can't get one of the good paying jobs in the area. It has turned into a money making scheme for post secondary schools to offer courses for every thing from being a flagger to even a janitor .The problem is you used to be able to get hired on as a janitor or apprentice and learn as you went along and even make a little money along the way. The costs of the qualifications you need to get these jobs now has been down loaded on the future employee. So like going to university you are in the hole before you even get a job. I could live with this but for the fact that even after spending a ton of money on these courses ,you are still not guaranteed a job . Unfortunately its still about who you know and not what you know.
funny... (in response to John)
Comment by t on 28th October 2011
Funny thing is ..... it was the MP who told me it was a local issue. Municiple issue in fact. Even more specifically Town Council/Moyoral issue. I think I would still like to hear what the candidates have to say.... But thank you for your input - I have done my homework on this issue.

I don't think you quite understood what I was saying - ANY link (bridge) from the trades programs (and I am not talking about the Pre Apprenticeship courses - but also the actual bonifide trades programs such as welding, heavy equipment mechanic, Millwright, all of it) - needs to be linked to the ITA for local placements into apprenticeship positions before a non-local candidate takes that job.

If you are aware - a person who has completed say... C level welding - cannot get endentured as an apprentice - then they can't move on in their next level of education, nor can they get a job in the field. Then industry says there is a shortage. (Play of words on their part)

So, to be more clear - we subsidize our local college with our local taxes. Municiple, Privincial, Federal. Then our local people go to school. They pay, we pay. Be they high school students or otherwise. Then they they graduate from the basic level and proceed watch non-local people get all the local well paying jobs. This is the reality.

Now, if you went to college, paid, studied, got good marks, graduated from your first level - obviously you are deemed proficient enough to be an apprentice. That is unless you are saying our instructors, programs & College is second rate??? I beg to differ - we have some of the best instructors in the trades available.
Pre Apprentice courses
Comment by John on 28th October 2011
I've worked in the training field for quite a number of years and for the most part employers think it's nice that the people have taken the Pre Apprentice courses but it won't give them an upper hand on applying for a job.

They want hard working, fast learning,
reliable apprentices...They are afterall making an investment in that individual.
The best candidates seem to be the ones that start out as a labourer or helper within the company, they can see first hand what their work ehthic and capacity to learn is before enrolling them in the apprenticeship program.

The School Board, College and ITAC need to hook up with Industry to make this work...If they don't have an opportunity to use the knowlege they gain in school it will be lost. They need to go back and revisit the old program as it seemed to work a lot better than the current one

As far as the mayoral and coucillor candidates trying to protect our jobs from foreigners....its a bit out of their realm. Thats a Provincial or Federal Level Government issue which should be brought up with the MLA and MP for our area.
what about apprenticeships after school???
Comment by t on 28th October 2011
This is nothing new. As a mattter of fact, the majority of students from the last local Acit College Trades Prep programs still don't have jobs in their field.

This is a immediate and direct result of NO LINK from the college to an apprenticeship, or to local jobs. The other reason is that out local leaders have not protected out local jobs while negotiating land use etc. (Told to me by a regional political leader).

I have two men in my family who have taken trades programs at the local college. Neither of them is working in their field of trades education.

So far the only people who have these jobs are foreigners. They have brought in alot of out of country guys that are "highly specialized' (so they say) so that locals do not qualify for the position, then they have those so called "highly specialized" workers doing non highly specialized tasks. So why is an "engineer" driving a loader?

While I am all for helping out our neighbors I pose this question - do you let your own children starve while you feed your neighbors children? NO. You and yours eat and then share what is left.

We subsidize our Colleges with all kind of taxes both directly and indirectly. I want these local students to be hired before a foreigner who pays no local municiple tax etc. and who sends most of their money out of coutry.

I would like to know how our local Canidates (Mayor/Council) would address this issue to protect our jobs so that our families are hired first? What is your vision for this? What do you see as your capacity? Do you even see that you have a roll in this? Are you prepared to make a fuss about it?

everything old...
Comment by Steve on 28th October 2011
Is new again-this is how it was in the early 70's-there were "academic" and "vocational"streams in high school.

The Vocational guys were introduced to the work force and given skills needed to succeed and survive in life, and most of them were working shortly after Grade 10.
Sometime around 1973, this practice was ended or died a natural death for some reason.

Not everyone wants to be a computer programmer, a social worker or a teacher and with the shortage of trades people, anything we can do to get back to this is a great idea....but it's not a new one..
great idea
Comment by tom on 28th October 2011
way to go, forward thinking!!!