Trades program to benefit students in Kitimat and Terrace area

The Industry Training Authority (ITA) launched a youth mentorship pilot program.

To coincide with Skilled Trades and Technology Week, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) launched a youth mentorship pilot program.

The Kitimat and Terrace area are one of just three regions receiving this program in its pilot phase, which seeks to connect high school students who are already in trades programs, such as ACE-IT (Accelerated Credit Enrolment in Industry Training) or the Secondary School Apprenticeship program, to journeypersons in the trades field.

“The purpose of it is to help mentor them and keep them guided in the early part of their journey with any questions they may have,” said Gary Herman, interim CEO of ITA.

“It gives them that guidance of insight and wisdom and knowledge that the journeyperson would have.”

Herman said this program is set to run until May and students involved, which also includes recently graduated high school students, will meet with their mentors for about 30 minutes each week for guidance.

“There’s lots of activity going on in the north…and there’s going to be a high demand for skilled trades in the north and we thought this would be a very good place to start the pilot,” explained Herman.

In May they will evaluate the program and decide how to roll it out for the rest of the province.

Herman said it’s a great time to be looking at the trades as a career.

“There’s never been a better time in British Columbia for young people to be considering a career in the trades,” said Herman.

“We’re not just talking about jobs here, we’re talking about careers.”

Employers or potential mentors are also welcome to submit an application for the program.

The program locally will be run by the Coast Mountains School District, or people can go to ITA’s website at www.itabc.ca/mentorship to get their name into the mix.

The mentorship project is anticipating connecting 50 students to mentors.

The other regions receiving this program for the pilot phase in BC is the north Okanagan and Vancouver.