Giving it a try at Try-a-Trade

By Geoff Lee

May 5, 2016 6:00 AM

Mackenzie Sequin from St. Walburg took part in a static electricity demo as the positive charge turns negative when Lakeland electrical instructor Ivan Cusack gets close with his elbow

The 7th annual bi-provincial Try-A-Trade Career Expo has come and gone with long term message for students to consider the trades as a first career option.
“Today we want our young people to understand that there are some awesome careers in the trades, but also that a career in the trades is a great first choice option,” said Paul Blankestijn.
He’s from the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission, one of several exhibitors promoting careers in 51 designated trades at the event held at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds Wednesday.
Despite the downturn in the economy Blankestijn said Saskatchewan trades are still strong.
“We see a lot of employers still valuing training for their apprentices,” he said adding retirements are opening up new opportunities for apprentices.
“Our baby boomers are retiring and predictions show very clearly in the next four to six years, the demand will be there regardless of how strong the economy is because of the thousands that are retiring out of the trades.”
This year more than 1,400 students from regional high schools in Alberta and Saskatchewan, less than previous years, took in the trade demos and exhibitors.
“The numbers are down a little bit, but actually we have some newer schools coming and with the general public, we don’t know how many we will get in advance,” said lead organizer Dorothy Carson, executive director of the Lloydminster Construction Association, as school busses rolled in.
Carson also noted Reynolds Plumbing was one of the new exhibitors at the show that attracts a number of new exhibitors each year to keep it fresh.
“We’ve been trying to get into it for the past seven years, but we were just busy and now we are not busy because of the economy,” said Reynolds’ owner, Kelly Duriez.
He brought several employees with him to engage students with some hands on plumbing.
“We’re going to show them some of the basic skills that we do every day—pipe fitting, soldering, and working with hand tools,” said Duriez.
He stressed the importance of using your hands and tools to get a feel for the trade. “If you don’t get a chance to try it you may never know how to do it, so we want these kids to be to able to try this out and get a hands on experience.” Craftex Builders brought back their popular wooden puzzle that journeyman carpenter Steven Hickman explained demonstrates the basic principles of framing in very a simple way.
“It gives a demonstration of how framing members go together and to give them an idea of the process you would go through if you were to build a wall,” he said.
The interactive puzzle allows Hickman to speak with students about apprenticeship training.
“I just finished my apprenticeship, so I feel I am a good fit if they have any questions about the trade or the schooling part of the trade,” he said at his booth.
Hickman graduated from Lethbridge College. 
One of the things he told students is that if you work with a company from the start of your apprenticeship like he has, they try to keep you on and keep you busy even though it’s a slow time in the economy.
“They train you so they want to keep you,” he said.

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