Stu­dents hear how to train for trades while in high school

The Daily Courier - - OKANAGAN - By ANDREA PEA­COCK

Pur­su­ing a ca­reer in the trades is a dif­fi­cult and re­ward­ing path, a group of Kelowna high school stu­dents heard Thurs­day morn­ing.

Dozens of stu­dents with an in­ter­est in the trades at­tended a Talk­ing Trades event at the BCIT Kelowna cam­pus to learn more about the dual credit pro­gram of­fered to Grade 12 stu­dents and to hear from grad­u­ates of the pro­gram.

The event was held in con­junc­tion with Ap­pren­tice­ship Recog­ni­tion Week.

“Dual credit pro­grams are an op­por­tu­nity for high school stu­dents to earn both high school credit to­wards their grad­u­a­tion and post-sec­ondary credit in a ca­reer choice that they’re in­ter­ested in,” said Bob Boback, dual credit and ap­pren­tice­ship co-or­di­na­tor with the Cen­tral Okana­gan school district.

Cour­ses of­fered in­clude me­chan­ics, plumb­ing, culinary, hairdressing, ed­u­ca­tion as­sis­tant and health-care as­sis­tant.

“I hope (the stu­dents) be­came aware of some ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties that they may not have been aware of,” Boback said fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s pre­sen­ta­tion. “I know that trades have never been val­ued as much as a univer­sity de­gree in our so­ci­ety, and we are re­ally try­ing to turn that tide and change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions that this is work that peo­ple take pride in — it’s work that builds our cities.”

Af­ter stu­dents fin­ish their dual credit pro­gram in the trades, the next step is to find jobs as ap­pren­tices.

“We help sup­port them and fa­cil­i­tate those ap­pren­tice­ship agree­ments with the em­ploy­ers,” said Boback.

Dar­ian Dall­mann, a grad­u­ate of the con­struc­tion elec­tri­cian dual credit pro­gram at Rut­land Se­nior Sec­ondary, at­tended Thurs­day’s event to talk about her ex­pe­ri­ence in the pro­gram and to en­cour­age girls to pur­sue the trades.

“When I was an ap­pren­tice, I was quite of­ten the only girl in the class,” she said. “I didn’t re­ally have any­one to go to, so I want to make sure that other women can see that they’re not alone. It’s kind of my way of giv­ing back and say­ing ‘you can do this too.’”

As a woman in the trades, Dall­mann has ex­pe­ri­enced plenty of sex­ism over the years, she said.

“It was tough,” she said. “I had days where I would go home and cry, but I just kept go­ing.”

Her ad­vice to other young women in trades is to push through and to find good peo­ple to work with.

“What made me keep go­ing is I liked do­ing the work,” she said. “It was re­ally sat­is­fy­ing taking part in a job . . . and think­ing ‘wow, I was a part of that.’”

Across all dis­ci­plines, the district has about 200 stu­dents in the dual credit pro­gram at a time.

“It’s a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents to get out of their high school chair, for stu­dents who know they’re not go­ing to sit at a desk job,” said Boback. “It’s an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents that want to use their body and their head to work.”

ANDREA PEA­COCK/The Okana­gan Week­end

Dar­ian Dall­mann, a grad­u­ate of the Rut­land Se­nior Sec­ondary School con­struc­tion elec­tri­cian dual credit pro­gram, speaks to high school stu­dents about her time in the pro­gram and how her ca­reer has pro­gressed since then. Dall­mann spoke to stu­dents as part of a Talk­ing Trades event at the BCIT Kelowna cam­pus Thurs­day morn­ing.

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