A dozen Comox Valley students are being rewarded for their hard work.

They’re from the Youth Work in Trades (YWT) program offered in Comox Valley Schools, and each received $1,000 from the provincial government.

District Work in Trades teacher, Murray Shold, played the part of Jolly St. Nick as he delivered the cheques on Dec. 5,

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 is to encourage and support students in the province to pursue a trade career in an effort to address the work shortage throughout the industry.

The funds can be used for anything a student wishes but, the district says, “ideally, they can be put toward continuing their education to earn a Level 2 apprenticeship at a post-secondary institution such as NIC (North Island College).”

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 school district to pursue courses within a career path. 

The district says its 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,” Shold said. 

“We have given out over $100,000 in awards over the last five years to local kids, it’s 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 ‘earn 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 credential.