Construction on the new Trades Centre at the Liverpool Regional High School (LRHS) is well underway.
LRHS was one of five schools in the province earmarked for a new trades centre building and program in the 2019 provincial school capital program.
Built on school grounds, the centre will provide an opportunity to “add to the suite of offerings we have in our school in terms of trades and apprenticeship,” said LRHS Principal Souhail Soujah.
“Some have traditionally shunned these jobs because of low pay or availability. That is all a myth. They are well-paid jobs. They are portable, so you can go anywhere in the country. The fact that we can offer training for these jobs to our students makes us extremely happy,” he added.
The contract for the build was awarded to Rikjak Construction Ltd. of Lunenburg at the end of March at a cost of $975,000. Construction began a few weeks ago and is expected to be completed in time for the new school year.
“Anytime we have the opportunity to expand our options to immerse our students into the experiences around the trades, that is a very exciting opportunity for us,” commented Paul Ash, regional executive director at the South Shore Regional Centre for Education.
The building will be set up like a construction site with three different elective courses offered: Skills Trade 10, Construction Trades 11 and Manufacturing Trades 11.
The older courses, including Production Tech, Construction Tech and Industrial Arts, were combined into the newly designed Skills Trade 10 program, which introduces students to all of the trades, such as plumbing, electrical, drywall, carpentry and finish carpentry.
The final assessment for the Skills Trade 10 program has the students build a wall that is framed with plumbing, electrical switches and more.
The Construction Trades 11 course will up the ante for students, giving them an in-depth look at all of the trades as they gain more experience with power tools. For a final assessment, groups will construct a small-scale hotel room.
The third stream, for students who want to add to their skills sets, is Manufacturing Trades 11. This will teach students “hot skills” such as sheet metal fabrication and welding.
The search is on for a Red Seal instructor for the program. By completing these programs, students can earn hours to go towards earning their own Red Seals.
Once students work through each course they can enter a co-op program where they are linked up with trades workers.
“Each course gives students 110 credit hours. So if a student does two courses at school here and takes part in two trade co-ops, they would be well on their way to earning a thousand hours towards their Red Seal,” said Todd Symes, vice-principal at LRHS.
According to Ash, the program helps both the students and the local business community.
“Skilled trades is an area of high demand,” he said. “The more responsive we can be to the areas of need for our local business community, the greater the opportunities for them, and for the students for meaningful employment.” This, in turn, provides a “better chance they will stay in our region,” said Ash.
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin