Students hear how to train for trades while in high school
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.”
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.