Conference introduces Grade 8 students to trades and technology

Skills Canada Manitoba held a trades and technology conference for Grade 8 students at the Thompson Regional Community Centre Feb.20-21, with girls attending on Wednesday and boys on Thursday.

Trades and professions represented were engineering, environmental science, non-destructive testing, millwright, electrician, instrumentation, fire and emergency services, mechanics, cooking, hairstyling, automotive, carpentry, horticulture, geology and mining and milling. Participating organizations included Thompson Fire & Emergency Sergices, R.D. Parker Collegiate, Manitoba Hydro and Vale.

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“This event is to promote trades and technology,” said Harlie Pruder of Skills Canada Manitoba. “And to let student know about their options within those fields, because there is a shortage of skilled tradespeople in Canada. Skills Canada is really trying to promote these options for different students.”

Pruder said that her desire is to see kids exposed to trades when they are young so that they can plant seeds in their minds about possible career paths.

“Some of the courses that they will need to do the trades, they’ll need to take in Grade 9 and 10,” said Pruder. “There are lots of opportunities within R.D. Parker, for example, that they can take advantage of, like the high school apprenticeship program.”

Cody Spurrell, a cut and fill geologist with Vale Manitoba Operations, was busy educating students about underground mining methods during the conference.

“Today I’m trying to inspire the kids,” he explained. “I’m talking about our two different methods of mining that Vale carries out here in Thompson, and some of the tools that I use every single day. I think it’s important for kids to be exposed to trades and technology because early on, it can give them an idea of where they want to go. For me, I was in Grade 12 and going to do business, I took a geology course and fell in love. I didn’t really know where geology would take me, so I went to university, got my degree and ended up in mining. I want to let the kids know that there are a lot of opportunities within geology.”

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