Students “Exposed” to Industry at first Trades Carnival

On Wednesday, the Trades Exposure Centre was an aptly named host to high-school students from across the Northern Lights Public School division engaged at the first Trades & Industry Carnival. The goal of the carnival was to introduce students to industry professionals and post-secondary representatives about the variety of options for them in the trades after high school.

The emphasis was on interaction between the students and pros, said Bill Driedger of Northern Lights Public School division, and to be part of an “authentic learning experience.”

Around 200 students from Cold Lake High School, Cold Lake Outreach, Plamondon, Glendon, BCHS, Bonnyville Outreach, Frog Lake, Lac La Biche, JAWS, St. Paul Regional, and the six surrounding First Nations communities attended the carnival.

“Also, we want the kids to have fun,” said Driedger.

Kiseyotyn White and Jett Courdoreille, Grade 10 students from St. Paul Regional High School had positive, laconic reviews.

“It was decent,” said White.  “Some of the booths were pretty cool,” said Courdoreille.

Overall, close to different 15 industries and a couple colleges including Lakeland College, and Portage College. There was everything from a welding or scaffolding station to an esthetician booth. Many companies added a game element to their presentation as well.

“It was fun. Lots of stuff to do, lots of stuff to learn,” said Austin Jackson, Grade 12, from Bonnyville Centralized High School.

“Right now, we’re not aware of any post-secondary in Alberta that does this training specific to service rigs,” Driedger said.

The Trades Exposure Centre opened in 2016, and currently has students from across Alberta spend a week on their service rig as a special project. Service Rig Safety and Floor Hand Experience provides an unprecedented opportunity to students to work on a real oil service rig. The program began because of industry need.

“The feedback we’ve received to date says the students who have gone through this are well-advanced compared to others who don’t have this kind of training. And that includes older adults who join them as well. That’s exciting for us,” Dreidger explained.

Students must complete an interactive online course before they are allowed on the service rig.  Energy Education 35-5 LDC covers the basics of the equipment and the safety requirements. When a student finishes their first aid, HCS3000, and a couple other safety-related certificates, they are ready to work on the rig.

There is a classroom and bunks for the students who could be staying up to five days on the worksite, and traveling from as far as Fox Creek or Lloydminster.

“To date the feedback has been nothing but positive,” said Driedger. “Once a school sends a group of kids, and the group sizes are small because of the type of learning they do, we no longer have to promote in that section.”

Austin Jackson, who is staying in the trades as heavy-duty mechanic at Lakeland College, also took the service riglast spring. When asked if the program was worth his time? “Definitely.”

The Trades Exposure Centre is also working on a scaffolding course, with other courses in early development as well.