RICHMOND – School District 38 will receive $40,000 from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) program support for the 2015/16 school year.

The funds will support the 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.

“This SSA funding has been an invaluable asset to growing a variety of career education opportunities for students in Richmond SD 38. Those in Grades 10-12 have engaged in a variety of apprenticeship opportunities that support their career development, while local employer relationships have been nurtured as well,” says Terri Lockhart, District Coordinator – Career Programs. “Without this funding, the time needed to develop these wonderful opportunities for students and to increase our Richmond employer partnerships would be a significant challenge.”

Last year’s SSA registration numbers were the highest they have been since the 2009 pre-recession years. In 2014-15, 1048 students registered in SSA programs across BC representing an increase of more than 10% over 2013-14.

“Hands-on experience is a ‘must’ for any young person looking to enter the skilled trades,” says Linda Reid, MLA for Richmond East. “This funding will provide exceptional learning opportunities for these workers of tomorrow.”

“In addition to learning how to use the ‘tools of the trade,’ it’s important for students to make important connections in the industry,” says Teresa Wat, MLA for Richmond Centre. “The SSA program helps them make a smooth transition to the working world.”

“With an estimated one million job openings by 2022, local students are excited for the many opportunities coming available,” says John Yap, MLA for Richmond-Steveston. “The practical experience offered through this program will help ensure British Columbians are first in line for those positions.”

“The youth play a pivotal role in sustaining B.C.’s future economic boom,” says Gary Herman, CEO, ITA. “There are more skilled tradespeople retiring from the workforce than entering it so we need to support the youth in trades training so that 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.