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New entry level electrical trades program coming to Surrey Schools following BCIT donation

WFdn-Event_hero_1200x600.jpgThe Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation donated $5.527 million to help deliver trades training to high school students.New trades opportunities are coming for secondary students in Surrey, thanks to a large donation to BCIT by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.

In conjunction with Seaspan ULC and Southern Railway of British Columbia, the foundation has donated $5.527 million to the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to establish the Trades Foundation for Youth Program, which will provide greater access to the trades for high school students.

The funds will be split amongst four school districts: Vancouver, Surrey, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge, and will allow for the establishment of trade-specific entry level courses for senior secondary students to be delivered on site at a local school in each district. 

In Surrey, the funds will be used to establish an entry level electrical program that will see one of the district’s shop classes turned into an electrician training area. The intro-level course would be taught by a BCIT instructor and provide Level 1 training to those interested in becoming an electrician, with credits being directly transferrable to further courses at BCIT. Tuition for this first year of training would be covered by the donated funds.

Mark Flynn, principal of career education for Surrey Schools, said the program will be offered to senior students who have expressed an interest in trades and may not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue them.

“We want to open this up to students in Grade 11 and 12, but also adult learners at sites like Invergarry Adult Education centre who may be facing barriers in pursuing trades training,” he said. “Because this is being built for us on-site and delivered directly in our district, we can build in supports to ensure these students will be successful in their training.

“So when they complete this program, they will be able to begin an apprenticeship and move towards becoming a fully certified electrician.”

While program logistics are being worked out, Flynn said the goal is to have the program up and running for the start of February 2025, with spots available for 16 students. Funding is in place for at least six years of programming, and Flynn said work is already underway to extend it beyond those initial years.

To learn more about electrical trades at BCIT, click here. 

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