A local high school student was at the controls of an excavator today for the ceremonial ground-breaking of the new NorKam Trades Centre of Excellence. The student, 17 -year- old Joey Kineshanko made the first dig to the cheers of NorKam students and construction workers.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender, MLAs Terry Lake and Todd Stone, along with school board chair Denise Harper, superintendent Terry Sullivan and students, then put the traditional shovels to the ground to mark the official start of construction of the new centre.
Scheduled for completion in 2014, the trades and technology centre will offer students from throughout the school district new training opportunities and a chance to get a head start on skills and trades careers, both in the Kamloops area and throughout British Columbia.
The centre will include four new skills and trades training shops with specialized equipment and two lecture areas. The skills and trades training capacity of the school will be expanding by about 100 students. New courses to be offered at the NorKam Trades Centre of Excellence include:
- Mining exploration, development and production
- Transport truck driver training
- Entry level industrial skills
- Construction trades training
- Refrigeration and air conditioning
- Civil engineering technology
The official groundbreaking was followed by a tour of the school's existing skills training facilities, including its professional kitchen and hairdressing salon where Fassbender agreed to have his hair trimmed. The hairdressing program at the school offers students a head-start on Industry Training Authority (ITA) approved apprenticeships.
Total cost of the new NorKam Trades Centre of Excellence is projected at $7.4 million. The Ministry of Education is investing $4.6 million in the new skills and trades centre. Through the government's Skills and Training Plan, the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training is providing $1.7 million. The balance of $1.1 million is being provided by the Thompson Board of Education.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
"We want to make sure B.C. students are first in line for the jobs of the future. The expanded training capacity at the new NorKam Trades Centre of Excellence will provide more exciting skills and trades opportunities for area students and move us closer that to goal."
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training -
"We're committed to ensuring that B.C.'s youth are ready to take advantage of the jobs that are coming their way. The NorKam Secondary Trades Centre of Excellence is an ideal resource for students to explore a career in the trades, even before they graduate from high school."
Denise Harper, chair, Kamloops-Thompson Board of Education -
"Boards are challenged by the 21st Century Learning Initiative to develop individualized programming that meets the needs of each learner and that encourages each student to reach their full potential. The trades training curriculum at the NorKam Trades Centre of Excellence will allow school district No. 73 to offer meaningful career-training opportunities to many of our students. This will help improve student retention, achievement and satisfaction while preparing them to pursue the career of their choice."
Terry Lake, MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson -
"This is an exciting day for Norkam and the entire community. This new trades and technology centre will give our students the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow-which will be great, family-supporting jobs here in Kamloops and around the province."
Todd Stone, MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson -
"Our students are keen and eager to learn more about the skilled trades, and this new centre will give them the chance to do just that. As the father of three children myself, it's exciting to see new options available for our young people to explore."
- The B.C. Government is seeking to increase by 50 per cent the number of students going directly into trades and technical training after graduation - from 4,000 to 6,000 over the next three years.
- This year, an estimated 134,000 grades 8-12 secondary students will take applied skills courses at B.C. public schools.
- These include programs such as welding, carpentry, hairdressing, culinary arts, construction trades, auto mechanics, drafting, and industrial/technology education.
BC's Education Plan: www.bcedplan.ca
Skills and Training Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/skills/bc-skills-and-training-plan/
BC Jobs Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education