The government of Manitoba will spend $78,000 on a two-year program to expose elementary and high school students in Lord Selkirk Park, William Whyte, North Point Douglas, and Dufferin to skilled trades, the province announced on Thursday. 

Hair dressing

Students involved in a provincial news conference hosted at Niji Mahkwa School learn about hair dressing as a trade. (CBC)

The program called North End Trades Discovery Initiative was created in partnership with the Skills Canada Manitoba, the Community Education Development Association (CEDA), the Winnipeg School Division and the Manitoba government, said a provincial news release. 

"Manitoba employers need tens of thousands of new skilled workers over the next decade," said Jobs and the Economy Minister and MLA for Point Douglas, Kevin Chief in the release.

"Fortunately, our neighbourhood has one of Canada's youngest and fastest-growing demographics to help us meet that demand. This initiative will help North End students learn about opportunities that are waiting for them right here at home."

The new initiative will coordinate activities and programs for students to learn about various trades and gain experience, the release said. 

roof building

Students try their hand at installing shingles during a provincial government media event at Niji Mahkwa School. (CBC)

It's like a "tap on the shoulder that lets them know a career in the trade is possible for them," said Chief.

Exposing youth, even those still in elementary school, will help students get excited about their futures, said Mark Wasyliw, board chair with the Winnipeg School Division.

"We are reaching them at an age when they are beginning to focus their studies and interests on what kind of career they want as an adult," he said in the release.

The North End Trades Discovery Initiative has several levels of learning opportunities including:

  • Trades awareness experiences for grade five and six students at David Livingstone, Niji Mahkwa and William Whyte schools with in-school projects and summer camp programs at R.B. Russell Vocational High School;
  • opportunities for some grade seven and eight students at Niji Mahkwa to go on industry tours and experience an after-school activity at R.B. Russell Vocational High School; and
  • trades awareness experiences for grade nine to 12 students involved at Children of the Earth, R.B. Russell and St. John's schools such as industry tours, after-school and summer programs, and participation in work co-operatives at social enterprises.