VANCOUVER – School District 39 will receive $40,000 from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) for Secondary School Apprenticeship (SSA) program support for the 2015/16 school year.

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

“The SSA grant we received from the ITA will help to support young apprentices as they begin to navigate B.C.’s apprenticeship system,” says Karen Larsen, Career Education Coordinator for the Vancouver School Board. “Youth need guidance with what adults might view as very basic steps. The outside funding allows VSB educators to make meaningful connections with more youth. In the long run, the funding allows more youth to start their apprenticeship journey with a solid footing. We value the excellent relationship we have with the ITA.”

Last year’s SSA registration numbers were the highest they have been since the 2009 pre-recession years. In 2014-15, 1,048 students registered in SSA programs across B.C., representing an increase of more than 10 per cent over 2013-14.

“The youth play a pivotal role in sustaining B.C.’s future economic boom,” says Gary Herman, CEO, ITA. “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.