Try anything at least once

By Geoff Lee

April 20, 2017 12:00 AM

GETTING YOUR FEET WET Katie Frank from Kitscoty High School tried her hand at automotive soldering at the 2016 Try-A-Trade event with help from Lakeland College instructor Randy Hobbis. Similar trades demos are in store for students at this year's event on May 3. FILE LLS PHOTO

Regional schools and students are set to scratch an annual itch, by attending the bi-provincial Try-A-Trade career primer at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds.
The goal of the eighth annual event, taking place on May 3, is to promote the trades as a first career option and channel student enthusiasm with an overarching message of safety.
About 1,600 students from schools in Saskatchewan and Alberta are expected to learn about some of the 51 designated trades available as a career, and participate in demos with safety upfront.
“This year, we are concentrating on safety, so we just want to make sure kids are aware of safety in the workplace as they are entering into trades or other jobs,” said lead organizer, Dorothy Carson, executive director of the Lloydminster Construction Association.
The Association is putting safety first thanks to a $5,000 grant for Try-A-Trade displays and volunteers from Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Innovation and Engagement Grants program.
A second $5,000 OHS grant will fund the Lakeland Regional Safety Conference this fall.
The Lakeland Regional Safety Committee (LRSC) will be doing a fall protection demo and a couple of other activities, to bring safety to the forefront for students at Try-A-Trade.
CanSafe Safety Services and Astec Safety are also participating with LRSC to promote safety in the trades.
The Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association will have a protection trailer onsite and an eyewear protection demo.
“Lethal Motorsports will be there doing recreational safety as well,” said Carson.
The show takes place at the Alberta Building from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
This year’s Try-A-Trade is sandwiched between National Day of Mourning for injured or fallen workers on April 28 and North American Occupational Safety and Health Week May 7-13, putting safety at top of mind.
Fittingly, the event also takes place during a Husky Energy turnaround, with many of the trades involved in maintaining the Lloydminster asphalt refinery represented at Try-A-Trade.
“We have electrical, we have the welding trades, and we have mechanical, so all those trades would be at Husky doing their turnaround,” said Carson.
She said welding and carpentry demos are two of the more popular attractions at Try-A-Trade, but there’s a lot of hands-on trades in seven industries to interest students.
“There isn’t one that isn’t well received by the kids,” said Carson.
Carson attributes the success of Try-A-Trade to students and the community linking the trades to a first-choice career.
“There’s a lot of promotions in the trades, just talking to the students and giving them an opportunity to look at their trade as an option,” she said.
Carson notes the Buffalo Trail Public School Division puts trades into their curriculum.
“So they send every Grade 10 student within their 14 schools to attend,” she said.
“There is quite the buy-in from schools that see this event as one of their main activities for the year for their students.”
When contacted last week, Carson said 23 schools had registered for Try-A-Trade, with more to come.
“There’s a couple of schools that show up with their students every year that we haven’t heard from yet,” she said.
Try-A-Trade allows students to talk with tradespersons about why they started their careers and to talk with prospectives employers about apprenticeships and schools about training courses.
Portage College will set up booth along with Lakeland College that will promote their new hairstyling trade program and their Streetrod Technologies Program.
Carson said the construction industry is feeling the impact of the economy downturn right now, but she is pleased to hear many of the companies still want to promote their trade to the students.
“There is going to be a lack of skilled workers, and there is the promotion throughout the province for skilled workers to start returning to companies,” she said.

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