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Blog: Friday, January 18th, 2019

Trades in Action

For 2 years running, Abbotsford Career Programs has been recognized by the ITA (Industry Training Authority) with a $5,000 award. This award is presented to top performing districts in the various BC economic regions that have the largest numbers of young men and women transitioning into an indentured trade. In fact, Abbotsford has the largest number of young adults entering the trades in BC! Students who receive employment sponsorship become indentured as apprentices and work under a Journeyperson with a specific trade. Once called SSA, Secondary School Apprenticeships, the program is now known as YWIT or Youth Work In Trades.

Abbotsford Career Programs hosts over 16 trades and tech programs as well as University Transition opportunities. The programs are vibrant and offer exciting opportunities for those who are looking to find training towards certification at an early age. Most of our programs accept applications in early March for a September start-up. Our staff vets several hundred applications for the available seats within the programs. Acceptance is based on a competitive entry. The old adage of schools indicating to students “If you can’t do academics, go into the trades”, is no longer the case. All Trades programs require students to maintain a 70% minimum in all facets of the program throughout the 16 weeks of training. Failure to do so may lead to removal from the program. That is a high standard but we all want our vehicles to be fixed and houses built to a high standard, don’t we?

A further bonus for these young apprentices is qualifying for a $1000 scholarship. Students who become sponsored by an employer and complete 800 hours of regular employment by a certain period are eligible for receiving this scholarship. In the 2017-18 school year, Abbotsford Career Programs handed out over $58,000 in scholarship checks to Abbotsford graduates!  In this year’s fall cycle, we just received $20,000 and are fully expecting to meet or exceed last year’s scholarship total. This is a best kept secret that goes unnoticed at graduation convocations due to the award taking place typically 6-8 months after graduation.

All of these awards don’t happen by mistake! It is due to the hard work and dedication of the high school’s Career Facilitators and Helping teachers behind the scenes. Tracking down and fulfilling the requirements for a young person to enter this cycle is a tireless task. Late night emails and texts are part of the job as the students in the cycle are working full time all over the lower mainland. No one does it better than Rick MacDonald! Rick has been in the Abbotsford school district for over 30 years and for the past 10 years he has worked alongside of the Career facilitators, Universities and local employers to enable young trades people to become actively employed and sponsored by the ITA towards Red Seal qualification. Thanks to teachers like Rick and all the Career Facilitators at each high school that allow Abbotsford School Districts young adults the opportunity to “Earn While They Learn”.

Mike Pearson, District Principal