Dawson Calkins and Hunter Wilson are just two of the many Kitimat students who have benefitted from apprenticeships offered by local employers.
Dawson, who currently works for his father Shane Calkins at Dollar Automotive, is a Grade 11 student at Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School. He joined the ITA Trades Program in Grade 8 when he was only 13 years old.
“I’ve always been interested in mechanics. There’s a photo of me when I was only five years old working with my dad on my unlce’s race car.
“Since then it’s pretty much been in my blood,” said Dawson.
His dream is to specialize in performance vehicles and to one day open a shop in the Okanagan and custom-build race cars.
“I’m currently building my own race car, a ‘78 Monte Carlo which is 90 per cent complete. The money that I have made here has all gone in the car,” he added.
He’s planning to race the car at the Kitimat hill climb in June, as well as on the Terrace race track.
He strongly urged other students to consider signing up for the Coast Mountain School District’s trade program.
“It’s a sweet trade – by the time I’m 21 I will be a Level 4 journeyman,” said Dawson.
He said working with his dad has been a great experience.
“He’s a great teacher – sometimes I wish I had a boss that wasn’t so hard on me,” he added.
Dad Shane said he is glad that he has been able to apprentice Dawson.
“I’ve been able to pass my knowledge on to him and teach him how to do things right,” said Shane.
“With the economy the way it is, it’s good to train students within.”
Hunter Wilson, who works for the Haisla Band Council, completed Level 1 training this winter at Coast Mountain College.
He has already built up 900 work hours, only six months after graduating from MEMSS, an accomplishment which earned him the $1,000 Youth Work in Trades award.