School District 47 has been awarded $22,500 in provincial funding to help connect students with opportunities in skilled trades and technical training. The funding comes from two BC Ministry of Education grants; $17,500 from the province’s Shoulder Tappers Program and $5,000 from the Skills Training Access Grant.
“These grants provide extra funds to support students who want to pursue trades, but may have barriers to success,” said school district superintendent Jay Yule. “They allow us to individualize programs and services to support these students.”
According to district principal of personalized learning programs Rod Perrault, this is the second year the school district has received funds for the Shoulder Tappers Program. The money is used to focus energy on spending time directly with students to help them find direction in trades and career training.
“We have, in the past, and will again focus on students who may be interested in particular career directions, but may face barriers to working or in completing their applications,” said Perrault.
A shoulder tapper is a teacher who gives at risk students in grades 11 and 12 positive input and advice, and connects them with innovative workshops and on-the-job experience in skilled trades and technology.
The shoulder tapper instructors, who have yet to be selected, will be working with students throughout all district secondary school programs, including Brooks Secondary School, Connect-Ed, Partners in Education and Brooks Offsite, said Perrault.
Whoever the district selects will work closely with district career educator Jim Palm “to support these students with career planning, trades explorations, dual-credit program applications and, where appropriate, coaching to help these students to be successful in work experience placements and in dual credit or other trades or skills-related programs,” said Perrault.
Perrault said the Skills Training Access Grant has also been valuable for connecting students who find it difficult to learn in traditional classroom settings with training in fields such as carpentry, coding and culinary arts.
According to the ministry, the grant also supports skills-training development for students at home by bringing mobile training units to the Powell River area.
Also, throughout the district, schools are offering small skills-training classes to ensure students receive the attention and opportunities required for success.
Both programs are expected to begin in February.