B.C. invests $1.2 million to promote industry training

ACE IT program designed to get high school students interested in the trades

British Columbia is pouring $1.2 million into a program designed to get high school students to register in industry training programs.

The accelerated credit enrolment in industry training program — also known as ACE IT — will allow students to earn credit towards their high school graduation as well as credit towards the technical training component of an apprenticeship or industry training program.

Students will take classes at high schools and partnering post-secondary institutions. Through work experience placements, ACE IT participants will also be able to earn credit toward the on-the-job training component of an industry training program.

“ACE IT will get more people involved in industry training at an earlier age and help ensure the trades are recognized for the excellent career options they are,” said Brian Clewes, chief executive officer of the Industry Training Authority. “It’s a key part of our efforts to expand opportunities for learners and meet B.C.’s long-term skills training needs.”

Advanced Education Minister Shirley Bond said the program is modelled on pilot projects the government conducted last year.

“Those projects and the secondary school apprenticeship program have shown us that programs like ACE IT are good for students and employers,” said Bond.

ACE IT will complement the existing secondary school apprenticeship program, which allows high school students to start the on-the-job training component of an industry training program. Schools will be able to structure their ACE IT programs to facilitate participation in both programs, and registered secondary school apprentices will continue to be eligible for a $1,000 scholarship.

The Surrey school district is among those that offered successful pilot projects on which ACE IT is modelled. In partnership with Kwantlen University College, the district developed a program for students in Grades 11 and 12 who earned both graduation credits and an equivalent to a level one certification in carpentry. Of the 38 students who finished the course, all but one found work during the summer, and 33 of them registered in the secondary school apprenticeship program.

PCL Constructors West Coast was one of the employers who supported and hired students in the pilot project run by Surrey school district.

“We were so impressed with the quality of the graduates in Surrey that we’ll be hiring more of them next spring,” said PCL’s field personnel coordinator, Randy Callaghan. “They had the right mix of skills and hands-on training and were job-ready when they graduated."

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