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New skilled trades program in Cowichan greeted with enthusiasm

Starting in 2024 students can learn the foundations of hairstyling, carpentry, and welding
Cowichan Valley School District announces new Careers and Trades program which is set to begin for the 2024/2025 school year. (Citizen file)

A new skilled trades program has both Cowichan Valley School District officials and potential employers in the area excited.

During a closed meeting of the Cowichan Valley School District board of education on Sept. 5, a motion was passed to create the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades program. This new program will aim to provide equitable access to life-changing career opportunities for local Cowichan students.

READ MORE: Duncan Christian students get a taste of the trades

“As the primary provider of education services to Cowichan Valley youth, we recognize we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure equitable access to exceptional learning opportunities for every student,” said board chair Cathy Schmidt. “Creating the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades will provide this access to any student no matter their situation. It is opportunities like this that truly change lives and drive community well-being.”

The Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades is scheduled to start in the 2024/25 school year and will be open to all Cowichan Valley youth in Grades 11 and 12. Dependent on its success, the district will possibly look at adding first-year graduated students and tuition paying adults in the future. Programming through the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades will be provided in consultation with SkilledTradesBC, the Ministry of Education and Child Care, and other educational partners. Courses will include Foundations of Hairdressing, Foundations of Carpentry, and Foundations of Welding.

“As a steel manufacturing company situated in the Cowichan Valley, we are no different from any other franchise suffering a serious shortage of experienced labour in the market,” said Glen Major of Pacific Industrial & Marine Ltd. “Pacific Industrial Marine supports Cowichan Valley School District’s decision to provide welding training locally for our community. There is a continual need for tradespeople in the Valley and we applaud the district for having the foresight to ensure a strong future for the Cowichan Valley.”

“Pacific Energy Fireplaces has been a supporter of the Cowichan Valley School District’s Dual Credit certificate program for the skilled trades since the beginning, ” said Pacific Energy Fireplaces president Reo Phillips. “This program has provided many skilled welders and other trades students with excellent career opportunities at Pacific Energy. The Cowichan Valley School District’s program is paramount to showing students what opportunities exist now and into the future and guiding them into a successful career path in these highly in-demand fields.”