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News Item

Tour of the Trades - Unearthing future career opportunities for GPPSD students

February 14, 2018

​On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Grande Prairie Public School District's students along with other students from Peace Wapiti School Division and Grande Prairie Catholic Schools and District visited local businesses under the 'Tour of the Trades' program. 

Today's tour was very similar to the one that occurred on December 14, 2017 and each of the three local Districts sent 4 students along with Off-Campus coordinators and were joined by Susan Ramroop, CAREERS: The Next Generation Field Director for Grande Prairie and area.

“This opportunity allows our students to explore, multiple trade areas on site. The experience prepares them to make informed off-Campus choices in the areas of work experience and registered apprenticeship programming.” Said Kimberly Frykas, Director of Instruction 7-12 at the Grande Prairie Public School District.

The schools visited the following businesses:

  • Lee Sheet Metal’s Shop
  • M&R Plumbing
  • Lonnie’s Auto Body
  • Ken Sergeant

What is Tour of the Trades?

The Tour of the Trades is an innovative approach for providing students with the opportunity to observe various trades in action, while creating meaningful connections with journeyperson and industry employers.  The program is directed by Careers: The Next Generation in partnership with the Grande Prairie Public School District, the Catholic School District, the Peace Wapiti School Division and several local businesses who serve the Grande Prairie area.  The program is organised by high school Off Campus Coordinators as an initiative to assist students in expanding their knowledge of possible career paths, and increase the possibility of finding a placement in the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

During the one-day exploration of a few high demand trades, students will be given time to have conversations with skilled tradespersons, and learn about the competences required to be successful in obtaining journeyperson certification.

This will be the second event in the 2017-2018 school year, and will feature sheet metal work, plumbing, auto body technician, auto service technician and parts technician.  A third day is planned for later in the year, and will be focussed on women in trades.  If students demonstrate interest in one of the trades showcased on the tour, they will then have the opportunity to be paired with one of the industry partners to complete a three-day job shadow on site.  CAREERS the Next Generation in partnership with school based off campus coordinators will be organizing the job shadow opportunities.  After the three day job shadow, students who demonstrate the desired attributes an employer is looking for, may have an additional option of being hired into a RAP placement with the business.

What is the benefit of this? Why are we organizing such a thing?

As the economy continues to improve, and the current work force of skilled workers ages, there is a rising need for skilled employees in the trades.  Concurrently Alberta Education is moving forward with the High School Redesign initiative that is focussed on engaging students, increasing achievement and enhancing the quality of teaching, while allowing students to personalize their learning, develop meaningful relationships, and create relevant learning opportunities.  The Tour of the Trades accomplishes the latter objectives by engaging students in career exploration, with the possibility of matching employers with students who are interested in pursuing a career in one of the trade environments showcased.  Employers are provided with another method for developing a stronger workforce, while allowing students the opportunity to enhance their learning, open doors for their future, and give them more choices for after graduation.