Jonas Burger is calm and collected in the welding shop, but it was only last year when he was jumping at the sight of sparks.
“When I did it for the first time I was freaking out,” said the Grade 9 Royal Bay student. “The other dude had to guide my hand since it scared me. I released my hand from the machine multiple times, but once I figured it out, I felt great.”
Now, Burger is one of a dozen student volunteers teaching Dunsmuir Middle School students how to weld. He showed Grade 7 student Titus Jackson how to weld around the rim of a tube as part of their project of the day – a candle holder.
Does this spark your interest? That’s what the hope is for Dunsmuir Middle School students who are at #RoyalBay Secondary today, learning trades skills like welding. @SD62_Sooke #yyj pic.twitter.com/2IGX3pTlj2
— Aaron Guillen (@iaaronguillen) January 23, 2020
Jackson is among dozens of Grade 7 and 8 Dunsmuir Middle School students who spent their Thursday at Royal Bay Secondary for Youth Discover the Trades, an event that teaches three trades skills, including metalwork, carpentry and electrical work.
“A lot of these students feel intimidated at first, but they get over it really quick with the help from the student volunteers,” said Glenn Bedard, Dunsmuir vice-principal. “We introduce them into trades so they can think about taking an elective in high school. It could be a stepping stone for something you want to do in your career.”
Grade 8 Dunsmuir student Makayla Graham said even though she found electrical work the most challenging, she wants to put her name in for some trades electives next year. She learned how to strip wires and try welding for the first time too.
“You shouldn’t be afraid of things that you don’t know how to do unless you try it once,” Graham added.
The program has been going on for more than five years, thanks to grants given from the Industry Training Authority of B.C. (ITA) and the Sooke School District.