June 20th, 2024

Try a Trade program immersing students in hands-on experience

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 24, 2022.

Bri Guzzi, Grade 10 student at Winston Churchill, and Mitch Fowler, Fire Officer, participate in local school divisions Try a Trade program at Fire Station 4. Herald photo by Ry Clarke

Lethbridge Fire Department Station 4 welcomed students from across multiple divisions to its facility recently to take part in the Try a Trade program.

The program came about with collaboration from Lethbridge School Division, Holy Spirit Catholic School Division, Coaldale Christian School, Horizon School Division, and Palliser School Division, offering students a snapshot look into possible career paths they are interested in exploring.

The program welcomed students to places of work in and around Lethbridge, giving them hands on experience that will help with planning for the future.

“We are trying to get more students exposed to different careers, especially in the 50 skilled trades in Alberta,” said Andrew Krul, off-campus education coordinator for Lethbridge School Division. “Firefighting is not a trade, but we branched out into several other different occupations that students may be interested in pursuing.”

Looking to gain student interest in possible careers, the program gives them the ability to test the waters before committing to their choice.

“If it does pique your interest, we can look at setting up a job shadow to further that work experience and hopefully go into an apprenticeship opportunity down the line,” said Krul. “We have around 200 students registered, with exposure in welding, cabinet making, mechanics and auto body, heating and air conditioning, landscaping, and the list goes on. After we organized it, we have had several phone calls from businesses saying how can they get on board with it? Which is great for when we are hopefully doing this again in the spring.”

Students participating said the experience was great to help understanding their choices in career paths.

“What piqued my interest was the fact that I have always wanted to be involved in the medical field and being a paramedic is my dream job,” said Bri Guzzi, a Grade 10 student at Winston Churchill. “It was very cool and interesting, but it was difficult, I couldn’t get the CPR properly down. Learning that hands on experience is very important in my opinion. Figuring out what you are passionate about and what do you want to do when you are older.”

Though brand new, the Try a Trade program has already been a success with students and other educators in Alberta.

“I received a phone call from Calgary,” said Krul. “They had heard about it in the Calgary Board of Education, and they also wanted some information. They thought it was an excellent idea to expose students and families to different career opportunities.”

Rolling out for the first time the program will return in the spring to help students make the best choices for their career paths.

“If you are not signed up for this time, please check back in early spring,” said Krul. “Getting students to get a hands-on experience and feel if that is a possible career direction, which you are not going to get from TikTok, or YouTube.”

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