Education Ministry expands ‘Shoulder Tappers’ program to Northern students

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A program focusing on skilled trades’ careers, with its roots in local area school districts is being expanded from just three to 15 school jurisdictions across Northern B.C.

Education Minister Mike Bernier made the announcement yesterday in Quesnel along with Evan Saugstad, the Northern Development Initiative Trust board chair.

Together, they’re providing $4.9 million to expand the Northern Opportunities Partnership started about a decade ago, here in the Northeast, and featuring between 2009 and 2012 trades related programs graduation rates of 80 per cent.

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The new Shoulder Tappers Program will feature co-ordinators or recruitment specialists, who work one-on-one with elementary and secondary school students, and will include access to technical, academic and vocational courses.

He adds parents want their children to be set up for success and the plan is to move forward with this program immediately — meaning early in the New Year.

In addition, in partnership with the BC Innovation Council, the province is hosting its first Tech Summit on Jan. 16 through to 19 in Vancouver, to showcase the tech industry and provide students and recent graduates with even more opportunities to get involved in the rapidly growing tech sector.

It is believed there will be tens of thousands of job openings in Northern BC over the next decade and most of them will require either post-secondary education or job specific training.

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