Norkam Trades Centre celebrates its first anniversary

By Jessica Lepp
February 24, 2016 - 3:39pm Updated: February 24, 2016 - 6:18pm

KAMLOOPS — It has been one year since the inception of the Norkam Trades and Technology Centre at North Kamloops Secondary School.

Today, in the third semester since the trades centre opened, the sampler courses have a full cohort of students.

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The new semester only began last month but already Norkam trades students are in full swing.

This is the third group of students to go through the trades training programs which also include auto mechanics.

Norkam Principal Jonathan Brady says, “I think these samplers are fantastic for kids, for our school and district. We're making great strides with the kids.”

Of the enrollment, 40 per cent of students are from south Kamloops and 22 per cent are girls.

Brady says, “I do know girls in the program have found it interesting because it's a program they generally wouldn't be involved with. They're excited about doing something with their hands.”

And despite slumping oil prices and a slowing economy in Alberta, the demand for trades appears stable, according to TRU Instructor Carl Burton.

“There's still demand in the industry for qualified tradesmen. While there isn't as high of demand in the oil patch there is still demand as tradesmen continue to retire and the need for skilled employees is growing.”

While there are nine spots for S.D. 73 students in the millwright program, the district is hoping to offer new trades courses.

“We are looking at adding a sampling program next year. We're titling it the industrial sampler. The details are still being worked out in terms of what it will entail. We're summarizing it as all things mechanical without wheels,” says Brady.

Each trades program is run by certified TRU instructors.

The partnership between the school district and university is one that is being touted as a success story that is leading to the progress at the trades centre.

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