Youth trades training programs offer more options for B.C. students (

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Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
250 387-2799


ITA Youth Trades training programs

Two years ago, the Province launched the Skills for Jobs Blueprint with a commitment to re-engineer B.C.’s skills training system to better match industry needs, provide the highest level of training, and get students from study to the workplace more quickly. The Blueprint outlined a target of doubling the number of ACE IT spaces to 5,000 over the next two years.

To meet this goal, the ITA consulted with over 1,200 stakeholders including career educators, technical educators at both the secondary and post-secondary levels, employers, First Nations, school districts, post-secondary institutions, parents and youth apprentices. The consultations found there was a need to:

  • broaden youth programs so that students are exposed to the trades earlier in the school system;
  • create opportunities to discover and explore the trades at an early age to develop the skills to better prepare for and succeed in secondary school apprenticeship programs like Youth Train in Trades (currently ACE IT); and
  • provide students and parents with a clearer path from early learning, to secondary school, through to post-secondary and into the workforce;

The result of the consultations was the formation of a more cohesive suite of program building blocks: Discover, Explore, Train and Work, which provide a clear and optimal training pathway for youth apprentices.

To help implement the updated programs, government announced in Budget 2016 that the Industry Training Authority would receive an additional $7.8 million over three years.

The updated programs will be implemented over a one-year transition with courses available for student enrolment in January 2017, and classes starting in September 2017.

Youth Discover the Trades (currently YES 2 IT)

  • The Youth Discover the Trades program is an opportunity for youth to get hands-on experience in a trade at an event in their local community. The events connect students, parents and teachers with local tradespeople and their employers showcasing first-hand what a career in trades is really like.
  • Program Participants: grades 5 to 10

Youth Discover the Maker Way (Currently Maker Day)

  • With Youth Discover the Maker Way, students get the opportunity to put away the books for a day and work in small teams in their classrooms to build a creative solution to a design challenge. The program is offered as a one-day event, a unit in your class, or as a year-long learning program.
  • Program Participants: grades 5 to 10

Youth Discover: Lions in the House

  • In partnership with the BC Lions, the Lions in the House initiative is focused on the power of choice and being the best you can be. Students are challenged to examine their choices as it relates to their own personal opportunities and those available in the trades. The event consists of an interactive assembly with speeches from prominent Leos as they discuss their own experiences in making significant life choices, interspersed with athletic competitions that provide a unique opportunity for the students to compete against each other.
  • Program Participants: grades 6 to 9
  • Each year 25 schools are visited throughout the province.

Youth Explore Trades Skills (Currently Skills Exploration 10-12)

  • This program gives students hands-on experience in four trades (carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and automotive). Students will learn the basics, explore their interests and get a sense of what trades career they could pursue. The 120-hour course consists of four modules (approx. 30 hours each) and non-paid work experience. After completing this program, students can move onto one of the dual-credit programs, such as the Youth Train Program (ACE IT) or the Youth Work Program (SSA).
  • Program Participants: grades 10 to 12

Youth Explore Trades Sampler (Currently various programs such as TASK)

  • This program allows students to explore up to five trades in greater depth. They will be given the opportunity to gain practical skills and can even complete certifications that trades employers are looking for. The 300+ hour program is a great way for students to prepare for an apprenticeship program such as the Youth Train Program (ACE IT) or the Youth Work Program (SSA).
  • Program Participants: grades 11 and 12

Youth Train in Trades (Currently ACE IT)

  • This program gives students the opportunity to get a head start on their technical trades training by attending a trades training class at a local secondary school, a partner post-secondary institution or an ITA-certified training facility. Students will learn from skilled instructors and earn credits that count toward their secondary school diploma and Level 1 of their technical training. Youth Train and Youth Work programs can be taken in any order and there are no prerequisites.
  • Program Participants: grades 10 to 12

Youth Work in Trades (Currently SSA)

  • This program gives students the opportunity to get on-the-job training as a youth apprentice. Students get a head start on the work-based training needed for a trades apprenticeship (up to 480 hours) while still in secondary school. They will be able to earn an income while also earning up to 16 credits toward their secondary school diploma. In addition, students are given the chance to earn a $1,000 award by meeting specific program criteria. Youth Train and Youth Work programs can be taken in any order and there are no prerequisites.
  • Program Participants: grades 10 to 12

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