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The Evolution of Trades

In 1948, training for apprentices under the province’s Apprenticeship Act marked the beginning of a new era for SAIT in applied education with 171 students enrolled in five different apprenticeship programs.

In 2015 the School of Hospitality and Tourism introduced a fast-track cook apprenticeship program. SAIT’s Culinary Campus teamed up with the United Way of Calgary and Area’s “All In for Youth” initiative to encourage vulnerable teenagers to tap into their passion for food and cooking and participate in this pilot program.

Seventeen program participants were identified by their school administrators for being at-risk of not completing high school for reasons ranging from learning disabilities to personal and socio-economic challenges. They did however, demonstrate an interest or aptitude in culinary arts. Rupert Kaupp, creator and champion of the program and academic chair of SAIT’s culinary programs interviewed the applicants and chose those he thought could benefit most from specialized career training.

A flexible education

Don Middleton, a teacher at Lord Beaverbrook High School knows all too well that some students don’t learn effectively in a traditional school model and is thrilled with the program indicating that ”some of these kids are living on their own, supporting family members and dealing with huge obstacles yet they have had higher attendance in this 15 week program than they have had in their entire senior high school years.”

Many high schools in Alberta are looking to move toward more flexible models of delivering curriculum and according to Joan Gauthier, program manager/school liaison with the United Way, this fast-track apprenticeship program “fits that ticket to a tee”. The program allows students to see results each and every day, building on skills they apply immediately in a hands-on environment. Not only did students receive training that will set them up for immediate employment in industry, but they also had the chance to get advice from some of Calgary’s top chefs including Paul Rogalski of Rouge and Bistro Rouge, who was thrilled to share his experiences with each of the students.

This opportunity was not lost on any of the participants, including Kayla Dorey who has wanted to be a chef before she could even reach the top of a stove. “I was super excited and nervous to meet the chefs. This program has given me a serious head start in life. I think it would be awesome if they could start a program like this for every trade.”

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