Murray Shold played the part of jolly St. Nick as he delivered a dozen financially rewarding gifts to students throughout the district on 5 December.

The 12 recipients are from the Youth Work in Trades (YWT) program offered in Comox Valley Schools, and each one earned every penny of a cheque for $1,000 from the Government of British Columbia.

Students who complete 900 hours toward a Level 1 apprenticeship receive bonus funding from the Ministry of Education and the Industry Trade Authority (ITA). The intent of the educational incentive is to encourage and support students in the province to pursue a trade career in effort to address the work shortage throughout the industry.

The funds can be used for anything a student wishes but, ideally, monies can be put toward continuing their education to earn a Level 2 apprenticeship at a post-secondary institution such as NIC.

Shold, a District Work in Trades teacher, is quite passionate about supporting his students in this career path by ensuring they are set up for success while in the program. He’s been an ambassador of the Youth Work in Trades demonstrating to students how fulfilling a demanding trades career can be.

One of the goals of the District education system is to enhance awareness and access to skills and apprenticeship training and to introduce students to hands-on experiences.

Students who are interested in the trades, or Dual Credit courses, can become sponsored by the Comox Valley’s School District to pursue courses within a career path. The School District’s Careers Department works closely with employers around the city to make sure that students are supervised onsite, aware and versed with WorkSafe BC regulations, have continual contact with school district employees, and that a worksite inspection has been completed. Onsite, students work closely with their supervisor to continually develop their skill set.

“None of this could actually happen without the amazing support of our local business community working hand in hand with the district careers department to support our students,” said Shold. “We have given out over $100,000 in awards over the last 5 years to local kids, it’ pretty cool!”

Youth Work in Trades is open to students in grades 11 and 12 and allows them to begin the process of apprenticeship while in secondary school. Students earns as they learn graduating from the program with 16 high school credits and 480 work-based training hours that can count towards earning a trade redential.

Mary Lee

Manager of Communications, Comox Valley Schools (School District 71)