Encourage apprenticeships

Kudos to the 30 per cent of the electorate that voted on Nov. 19, thanks to the candidates who offered their service

Kudos to the 30 per cent of the electorate that voted on Nov. 19, thanks to the candidates who offered their service and thanks for electing me as a Trustee.

During the campaign, where the candidates’ exposure was limited, I tried to emphasize the importance of “trades” in the future plans of our students and the community needs for these specialized skills. Canada predicts a one-million person trades shortfall by 2020. The B.C. projection for this region is a shortfall of 6,850 carpenters and cabinet makers by 2019. To meet this anticipated need North Island College, Comox Valley campus developed a plan for a “Trades Training Centre.” The Centre was opened last February; cost $9 million, boasts 2,700 sq. meters, serves 112 carpentry apprentices annually, plumbing and piping, marine education (piloting) and upgrading for trades programs; 160 students capacity. A nearby campus is a plus for Campbell River secondary students moving into “hands on” stuff.

I am looking forward to the Century 21 Learning Initiatives being introduced by B.C. Campbell River (SD 72) has an existing carpentry training program at Carihi (sponsored by Seymour Pacific) that offers dual credit first year college accreditation (at NIC) courses to graduates. Sealand Aviation offer aircraft structures courses at Timberline high school. There are other trade initiatives and opportunities out there.

My plan is to lobby my fellow trustees, senior management, educators and the senior governments with the long range purpose of seeing the College build our own “trades centre” right here in Campbell River. The Comox Valley enjoyed federal and provincial funding aid, support from industry and the greater community. The reality is that the success of the Comox Valley centre will have a direct {pilot} bearing on whether further funding / new centers are forthcoming. Our young people now have a close by opportunity for quality trades apprenticeship training. We should encourage them. At the same time we should try to start the ball rolling for that day when the need and the political tide may yield a centre here. In the meantime our school district and the community at large might look at ways to expand the trades’ initiation/offerings in our secondary schools. We traditionally think of traditional “shops” and the attendant high costs of their operation. I support those programs. I see a need for an elective course or two that would address the students need for trades knowledge as in what is available, where, when, the need, the process, the qualifications, contacts and most importantly, what is it {future job} all about. The cost of getting industry speakers, retired personnel with trades experience, films, inter active stuff etc. would be negligible. Hear and see stuff on the oil sands, Ft. McMurray, ship building, sea farming, forestry, firefighting, police and other items of interest. Could we better serve this potential segment of our young that is now perhaps over represented in attrition and drop out statistics?

I will be one voice in seven on the board. There are other priorities/interests. A common lobby, where needs are voiced by many, is effective. Tell your trustees what you think.

Ted Foster

School trustee-elect