DAWSON CREEK – School District 59 will receive $20,000 from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) program support for the 2015-16 school year.

The funds will support School District 59 in placing SSA students in grades 10, 11 and 12 with local employers to attain practical experience. Students will “earn while they learn” and gain credit towards their high school diploma and the apprenticeship portion of their trades training.

“The SSA program provides students with a head-start to trades training for in-demand careers,” School District 59 vice president Brad Booker said. “The ability to earn high school credits and relevant work experience is invaluable for our students. Ours coordinators forge lasting partnerships to connect students with local employers. SSA coordinators are the essential link to partner schools with industry to provide students with career and post-secondary opportunities.”

Last year’s SSA registration numbers were the highest they have been since the 2009 pre-recession years. In 2014-15, 1048 students registered in SSA programs across BC representing an increase of more than 10 per centover 2013-14.

“Our government wants all British Columbians to be able to participate in our strong, growing and diverse economy,” Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier said. “By working with organizations like the Industry Training Authority, we can ensure that our students are equipped with the skills they will need to get in-demand jobs in our region.”

“The youth play a pivotal role in sustaining B.C.’s future economic boom,” ITA CEO Gary Herman said. “There are more skilled tradespeople retiring from the workforce than entering it so we need to support the youth in trades training so that they are ready to respond to the increasing demand in the labour market.”

ITA partners with the Ministry of Education to deliver four youth programs focused on awareness building of skilled trades’ careers, practical work experience and apprenticeship technical training: SKILLS EXPLORATION 10-12; ACE-IT; SSA; AND YES-2-IT.