Building a trades career while still in high school
SAIT is giving Calgary high school students the opportunity to walk the stage at convocation and keep on walking — right into a trades career.
Students in SAIT's dual-credit carpentry program will graduate with their Grade 12 diploma and a Certificate of Completion in Pre-Employment Carpentry at the same time. They will also have the opportunity to challenge the written and practical exams for first-year Carpentry Apprenticeship.
The first students from the Calgary Board of Education began taking carpentry classes at SAIT at the beginning of February. Classes run three times a week until graduation in the spring of 2016. The Calgary Catholic School District's first cohort begins in September.
Dual-credit carpentry students working in SAIT labs with instructor Ryan Mann
"This is the first trades-focused dual-credit program at SAIT and it's a significant opportunity to expose young people and their parents to trades," says Scott MacPherson, Dean of the School of Construction at SAIT.
"This program will give students a clearer sense of career options available to them with the hope that more people choose the trades to help industry fill a need for skilled workers."
Gerry Fijal, Director of Learning with the Calgary Board of Education adds, "This is a wonderful example of the community collaborating with schools to support student success. We very much appreciate the opportunity to work with SAIT and the Calgary Construction Association to help connect our students' present learning with their future career goals."
Industry supporting youth initiatives
SAIT's partnerships with industry helped launch the dual-credit program.
To ensure students are learning with the latest equipment, the Calgary Construction Association (CCA) donated tools, a tool crib and personal protective equipment valued at more than $56,000.
"Despite the energy cycles, if you look at the long-term potential and growth in our province, there will be a demand for workers," says Fabrizio Carinelli, current chair of the CCA. "From an industry perspective, it's extremely important to make sure we have a healthy number of young individuals going through the education process so they are prepared to take on these new projects."
The program covers everything from worksite safety to tool use to framing and wood joints. In the final semester, the students will complete the framing of a small house.
Carinelli is hopeful programs like this help educate students and others about the opportunities available in the trades.
"I think there was a stigma many years ago that this was a secondary pathway for a career, but that's far from the truth. You can build yourself quite a career and make a very good living in the trades."
Set for success
The high school students are completing the same curriculum as adults registered in SAIT's full-time pre-employment carpenter program. This program has a 95 per cent employment rate.
This is the second dual-credit program at SAIT. The first cohort of Pharmacy Assistant dual-credit students graduated in October 2014.
Feb. 10, 2015