Thanks to a grant from the Industry Training Authority, Grade 9 students at Duncan Christian School got to spend a full two days in May exploring the trades.
The ITA provided a full grant of $5,430 to make the event happen, covering all equipment and supplies to assemble 12 friendship benches as well as a range of presenters over the course of the two days.
The bench construction was led by Herb Krul who is the career development coordinator for the Society of Christian Schools in BC.
“I’m trying to do an encouragement for young people to get into the trades,” Krul explained. “Industry Training Authority would like to see all young people explore trades as a career pathway, so I work together with Christian schools across the province to get them an introduction to hands-on learning, what is a trade, what is a skilled trade, how to get into it, and also the critical skills with building and making.”
On the first of the two days, the students split into groups of three to assemble the benches using materials that were precut by the DCS trades class, learning to use the necessary tools and proper techniques.
The second day included in-person, prerecorded and live virtual presentations from a variety of speakers, including VIU Cowichan Campus administrator Jessie Chalmers, DCS grads and tradespeople Miriam Sadler (culinary), Lindsay Dykstra (home care), and Kurtis Wikkerink (electrician), ITA apprenticeship advisors Doug Podetz and Tawni Wilkins, and contractor Jon Coleman.
The benches were later delivered to locations throughout the community, including the Cowichan Tribes Health Centre, Cowichan Tribes Daycare, World Wildlife Fund conservation area on the Cowichan Sportsplex property, Duncan Christian Senior Home Society, Si’em Lelum Gym, Cowichan Tribes Elders Garden, Cowichan River Bible Camp, Camp Imadene, Hof Park, and the Cowichan Sportsplex. Three benches are also located at Duncan Christian School: one each inside and outside the high school building and one outside the elementary school.