Students in School District 10 (SD 10) will soon be getting a boost to their skills in trades and technology as the district is set to receive $17,500 in grant funding from the Shoulder Tappers Program (STP).
The program enlists career coordinators or recruitment specialists who work closely with students to help them connect with trades and technical training as well as on-the-job experience.
“The idea is to increase opportunities for young people,” said Terry Taylor, Superintendent of SD 10. “To be able to be exposed to skills and the trades and technology, and to be able to learn more of those things.”
This is only the second year the grants have been available.
Like any grant money available, certain criteria needed to be met in order to get the funding.
In this case, the criteria included things like the Design Thinking Initiative.
The Design Thinking Initiative is a project that runs throughout the year and connects 13 local artists, makers, and tradespeople with students offering them hands-on learning experiences.
Another part of the criteria involved Aboriginal education and enhancing support of students in the district with Aboriginal ancestry.
“It’s about making the connection with tradespeople and artists who have ancestry themselves,” said Taylor. “Being able to see role models and, as one of my Aboriginal colleagues calls it ‘not just the fossilized culture of Indigenous people, but what are people with ancestry doing, creating, adding to our society as Canadians.’”
The third and final piece of criteria involved coding.
Because computers are so ingrained into everyday life, students are learning how they work and how to operate them. In fact, students at both Nakusp Elementary School and Lucerne Elementary Secondary School in New Denver are taking courses in learning how to code.
“They’re doing all kinds of different animation and creating code to be able to see how it is that they can use computational thinking and coding to be able to be more able to use coding in their lives and in their futures,” said Taylor.
With regard to students learning hands-on skills, SD 10 recently held a Maker Day at Nakusp Secondary School. While there, they learned about trades and technology careers, and engaged in design thinking, creating prototypes and solutions to real world problems.
Taylor thought the day was an incredible opportunity for the students to learn hands-on skills to solve problems.
“Kids came up with the most amazing solutions for authentic problems,” she said. “Just that ability for them to be fuelled and on fire by creating and collaborating and working together — these are real skills in the world. Our kids had a great time, but I also think they learned some really important career skills and life skills.”