Okanagan Skaha schools get skills training funding

The Okanagan Skaha School District is getting two provincial grants supporting skilled trades and tech training.

Okanagan Skaha students are benefitting from provincial grants supporting skills training and tech education.

Okanagan Skaha students are benefitting from provincial grants supporting skills training and tech education.

The Okanagan Skaha School District is getting two provincial grants to help students connect with opportunities in skilled trades and tech training.

“These programs are a wonderful way to help our students get a strong start in their careers,” said Penticton MLA Dan Ashton. The funds, he continued, are intended to help ensure the creation of a well-trained workforce.

The first grant, $17,500 from the Shoulder Tappers Program, provides school districts with career coordinators and recruitment specialists who will mentor students, connecting them with workshops and on-the-job experience in skilled trades and technology careers such as aircraft engineering and heavy-duty mechanics.

The district is also getting $5,000 through the province’s Skills Training Access Grant, helping connect students with training in fields such as carpentry, coding, and culinary arts.

This grants also supports student skills-training development by bringing mobile training units to the area.

Minister of Education Mike Bernier said the grants are intended to help students get training earlier, so they can be ahead of the game when they graduate and start looking for work in the trades and technology industry.

Both grants are part of a provincial initiative to re-engineer the education and apprenticeship systems to target funding and programs to in-demand jobs.

Earlier this month, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) released their 2015 results, showing B.C. Grade 10 students are already leading, earning the top-spot for reading, second in science and sixth in math, each an improvement over the last time the international testing — assessing students in 72 countries— was done in 2012.

“Their outcomes put them at the head of the class globally. These results come thanks to hard work by the students, the skills and efforts of our teachers, and from the strength of our education system,” said Bernier. “It’s doubly rewarding to see the strong results are also an improvement from the already strong results three years ago.”