Deciding on a career after high school can be a bit of a nightmare.
The many challenges facing a teen – including peer pressure or whether a university education is better over trade school – is not always ideal for career inspiration to strike.
But a new program at Edward Milne Community School is taking students from the rigours of daily classroom work and putting them full-time into an industrial trades class for a semester.
Metal TASK (Trades Awareness Skills and Knowledge) is a unique program that allows Grade 11 and 12 students to immerse themselves in the metal fabrication trade while earning dual credits for high school graduation and at Camosun College.
“It is a sacrifice these students make, but these are kids that are interested in becoming metal fabricators or interested in the trades at some level,” Matt Harmeson, the program head and metal fabrication teacher at EMCS, said.
Metal TASK is funded by the Canadian Welding Foundation, Camosun College, and the Sooke School District.
The outside funding allowed EMCS to buy current technology, such as a high-tech aluminum welder, to develop student skills and prepare them to enter the workforce.
One of the class’s interesting projects is to fabricate 12-foot jet boats – the boats, when complete, are seaworthy, only needing an engine and a few other amenities.
The boats are sold to help fund the continuation of the program.
“It’s basically about student engagement, it increases learning, and it’s just cool,” Harmeson said, pointing out students were lining up to take the course.
One student who signed up was 17-year-old Braden Gilson, who’s eyeing a career in boat fabrication.
He started welding in Grade 9 and found he had a talent for it. It led to a part-time job with Silver Streak Boats in Sooke, and over the last two years, been the regional champion in the Skills Canada competition.
“I just found I was good at it (welding),” Gilson, a Grade 12 student, said.
Along with classroom work, Metal TASK students participate in four weeks of work experience with Greater Victoria businesses, including the Department of National Defence and Camosun College.
The program also gives students preferential entrance into Camosun’s metal fabrication program.
For information on buying a jet boat, please call Matt Harmeson at EMCS (250-642-5211).