At Sandwick Technical School located on Rennison Road, a lot of creativity goes on. Sometimes unnoticed until May and June when every Grade 7 class throughout Comox Valley Schools cycles through, trying up to eight trades - Carpentry, Concrete, Electrical, Plumbing, Drywall, Painting, Mechanics and Cooking.
The event is called Try a Trade and is designed to introduce young elementary students to a field of hands on experience and skills. Specifically, the goal is to target these students prior to entering secondary education so to give them a better taste and appreciation for an apprenticeship career. If their experience was intriguing enough, students can concentrate the latter part of their high school years focusing on a trade that will open up to a career path post secondary education. This often helps the leader students determine if s/he would like to apply for a Youth Train in Trades program such as carpentry, welding, and plumbing at North Island College.
As a second advantage and purpose, Try A Trade allows that senior secondary student to act in a mentorship role, leading the young #Learn71 students through a trades station. High school students are able to reinforce their passion for pursuing a trade and test their ability to take on a leadership role. It's a win-win for the junior and the senior student.
The day long experience begins with the senior leaders arriving prior to their "junior learners," reviewing and practicing a station they are going to work at. Grade 7 students arrive eager to pound nails or frost a cake just before lunch. But before they start the hands on work, a quick introduction and safety lesson is delivered by Randy Grey, Sandwich Alternative educator and Try a Trade coordinator for the district.
"The best part of my job is seeing the grade 7 students having fun while learning through hands on activities by the older students," shares Grey. "Try a Trade is really the start that many young people need in finding out what they are good at and like to do."
This week, the team at Sandwick had the last group, Ecole Robb Road students rotate through. Try A Trade program has been in the district for the past five years.