Pathways to Employment Explores Opportunities

Selkirk College Pilot Projects Makes a Difference


A Selkirk College job skills pilot project has introduced a group of 16 students to industrial and trades careers, ultimately changing lives in the process.

The Pathways to Employment in Trades & Industry Program brought together students of diverse backgrounds from across the West Kootenay in early-November for a 19-week exploratory program that provided essential job success strategies and hands-on trades training. Partnering with the Industry Training Authority (ITA) and funded by the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund, the program wrapped up on March 24 and is being heralded as a tremendous success.

Pathways to Employment

After participating in the Selkirk College Pathways to Employment in Trades & Industry Program, (L-R) Sadie Stewart, Emma Johnson and Zack Howes have all been accepted into the Selkirk College Metal Fabrication Foundation Program on Nelson’s Silver King Campus.

“They have taught us everything we need to know to get a job,” says 22-year-old Zack Howes, who quit his job as a labourer in Trail to enter the program. “The instructors and people running the course make you feel safe when you are talking to them. They are very respectful, encouraging and they don’t want to see you fail, so they help you all the way through. It has been life changing.”

Under the direction of Selkirk College Electrical Program instructor Julie-Claire Hamilton, the 16 students started the program in the classroom by taking personal interest and skills inventories, and embarking on career exploration. Students learned about employer expectations, effective job search skills, entry-level trades’ math and navigating computers.

“It’s helped me a lot with responsibility and being able to show up every day,” says 23-year-old Emma Johnson, who grew up in Castlegar. “It’s just as much about making a commitment to something and following through, even if it gets hard. It’s improved everything for me, mostly my ability to cope with things.”

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