Darren Hedberg, Ben Pedro, Taylor Hedberg, and Coast Mountain District trades coordinator Brigitta Van Heek, who personally delivered the award to the two students. (Photo Gerry Leibel)

Apprenticeship program pays off for two Kitimat students

Successful completion of the program earns students 16 credits towards graduation

Two Kitimat students have proven that hard work and dedication will always be rewarded.

Ben Pedro and Taylor Hedberg both received Youth Work in Trades awards through a partnership between the provincial education ministry and the Industry Training Authority.

Youth Work in Trades provides skill development through practical, hands-on work experience for students still enrolled in high school.

Ben and Taylor were fortunate to find an employer who was willing to take them on (and pay them) as apprentices.

That employer was Darren Hedberg, owner of contractor firm D.C.H. Industries.

Hedberg said programs like Youth in Trades is crucial up north, a region which is plagued by a critical shortage of tradespeople, which hampers the industries and building trade.

“The Youth Work in Trades program goes a long way in addressing the shortage, by training people from our communities, to hopefully stay, work and raise their families in our communities,” said Hedberg.

Students that are 15 or older can enroll in this program provided they formally register with the Industry Training Authority as youth apprentices. Successful completion of the program earns students 16 credits towards graduation.

Not only did Ben and Taylor earn their Grade 12 Graduation Credential, but they were also awarded $1,000 for “sustained and exceptional work as an apprentice.”

Taylor, who has received a number of scholarships, said participating in the apprenticeship program means avoiding having student loans to pay when he does go and study at college.

Students who want to sign up as an apprentice can contact their high school counsellors.

To be eligible for a Youth Work in Trades award, a student must complete 900 hours of work-based training by December 31 of the school year the student turns 19.

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