WILLIAMS LAKE – The Cariboo Chilcotin School District will receive $20,000 from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) program support for the 2015-16 school year.

The funds will support the Cariboo Chilcotin School District in placing SSA students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 with local employers to attain practical experience. Students will “earn while they learn” and gain credit towards their high school diploma and the apprenticeship portion of their trades training.

“SSA is an excellent way to help our young people get a head start into a career in trades,” School District 27 career programs co-ordinator Dave Corbett said. “We have had a number of secondary students in the Cariboo Chilcotin benefit from this program and continue to see an increase as more and more students pursue an apprenticeship while still attending school.”

Last year’s SSA registration numbers were the highest they have been since the 2009 pre-recession years. In 2014-15, 1,048 students registered in SSA programs across B.C., representing an increase of more than 10 per centover 2013-14.

“This funding will provide students with skills development through practical, hands-on experience,” Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said.  “Our region will need skilled workers in the years ahead and these students are in a prime position to earn those jobs.”

“The youth play a pivotal role in sustaining B.C.’s future economic boom,” ITA chief executive officer Gary Herman said. “There are more skilled tradespeople retiring from the workforce than entering it, so we need to support the youth in trades training so they are ready to respond to the increasing demand in the labour market.”

ITA partners with the Ministry of Education to deliver four youth programs focused on awareness building of skilled trades’ careers, practical work experience and apprenticeship technical training: SKILLS EXPLORATION 10-12; ACE-IT; SSA; AND YES-2-IT.