Liam and Carson, Apprentices, Victoria

Liam, apprentice

Liam Tauson needed a plan. The Belmont Secondary student wasn’t engaged with his classes and had even considered dropping out. A vice principal encouraged Liam to join Belmont’s residential carpentry course. After a successful spring semester, Liam landed a paid carpentry apprenticeship with Yellowridge Construction Liam-and-Carson.png working on the new Belmont Secondary build. Not bad for a first construction job, building his high school’s new replacement.

Liam wasn’t the only Belmont student looking for a career path. Carson Launder had always excelled at academics, but couldn’t picture himself attending university after graduation. Like Liam, Carson gained hands-on skills experience during an electrical apprenticeship with Glenco Electric.

Carson has already become a leader on his jobsite and has started planning for his future. “By the time I’m 28, I’d like to be a certified journeymen electrician and named foreman of a jobsite,” said Carson.

Over the next decade, 1 million job openings are expected in B.C., as well as increased demand for more and higher skills— more than 43 per cent of jobs will be in trades and technical occupations.

Before his apprenticeship, Liam hadn’t considered trades as a career pathway. “I never liked sitting at a desk all day, so when I found a program that allowed me to work outside, use my hands and my head, and learn lifelong skills, I jumped all over it,” said Liam.

High school options like the Secondary School Apprenticeship and ACE-IT program allow students to experience hands-on learning, while earning graduation credits and in some cases, dual credits for post-secondary programs.

Sixteen-year-old Matt Moneo has already completed Sooke School District’s Trades Awareness Skills and Knowledge program. For one semester, students sample carpentry, drywall, electrical, plumbing, painting, metal fabrication, sheet metal and welding, earning 32 credits for graduation, including dual credits for Camosun College in Victoria.

Matt has since transitioned to the apprentice program, currently completing a carpentry apprenticeship with Westco Construction. “Skills and trades taught me that hard work and respect for the job pay off. Long term, I’d like to oversee my own crew in Northern B.C.”

Matt, Carson and Liam all had a sense of what their future careers didn’t include. They just needed to discover their career passions. For kids and parents in the K-12 system, B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: Re-engineering Education and Training is a plan designed to give students a head-start to hands-on learning so they’re ready for the workforce or more advanced training when they graduate.

With $10.5 million already invested in the Skills for Jobs Blueprint and a 25 per cent increase in skills scholarships being planned, Matt, Liam and Carson are leading the way for other students looking to find their career fit.