TASK (Trade Awareness, Skills & Knowledge)

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TASK (Trade Awareness, Skills & Knowledge)

$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our project is unique and distinct from other similar programs due to the number of partnerships we have established, internal support mechanisms for students, cultural sensitivity, and employment and graduation options. This program offers students an opportunity to validate any prior trade experience and comfortably re-enter the school system with the hopes of pursuing trade certification.
As Career Coordinators in the Saanich School District we recognized a group of vulnerable learners who could benefit greatly from a tangible learning environment where they learn by doing. The regular school learning environment was not working for many of these students. Our candidates range in age from 15 to 51 years of age; none have any trade certification. In the Spring of 2011, Camosun College invited us to take the lead in a pilot project that would enable students to explore seven trades areas in a hands-on learning environment. We seized this opportunity to expose our students to a variety of interactive learning activities and developed a delivery model that would see students receive technical training, participate in a work experience practicum with community based employers, and earn credits to help them graduate. Students who successfully complete the program will gain certification in WHMIS, First Aid, Fall Arrest, Flag Person, and Fork Lift Operation which will make them more appealing to potential employers. As soon as we established the partnership agreement between the school district and Camosun College we approached Pauqauchin First Nation to be our principal partner but also had discussions with Tsawout, Tsartlip, and Tseycum Nations to share our vision of the TASK program. Pauqauchin representatives met with their band council and decided to partner with us to deliver this program. Pauqauchin undertook substantial renovations to their community hall to create a teaching space for the program on their reserve.
The five-month program is comprised of four months of technical training during which time students will be placed with a community based employer for one day a week. During the final month of the program students will complete an unpaid, full-time work experience practicum that we believe will lead them to paid employment through the summer and beyond. This model sets a student up for success and for a seamless transition from school into the world of work, with an ongoing commitment to continuing education. They will be coached on how and when to return to a technical training institution for successive levels of training in their craft.
One of the greatest challenges to the success of this program is attendance. Students will be guided through an examination of past personal management systems and encouraged to reflect on and create change in their lives. We have incorporated the practice of cultural circle time to help students reflect on their past practices and to work on essential work readiness skills. We have engaged a mature Aboriginal trades person as an assistant to support the college instructor in the classroom, to help bridge any gaps in learning, and mentor students through the program.

About You
About You
First Name

Stu & Wendy

Last Name

Rhodes & Walker

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TASK (Trade Awareness Skills & Knowledge)

About You, Your Group, or Your Organization

Saanich School District

Please confirm that this project could benefit First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples


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What categories best describe who your group or organization serves (check all that apply)

First Nations people.

What best describes your group or organization

Elementary or Secondary school, University, Technical Institute or College.

How long have you, your group, or your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Define your idea / project in 1-2 short sentences

TASK will be a catalyst for change providing a pathway for vulnerable learners to re-engage in meaningful learning and transition into employment.

Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a project that is just getting started)

Social Impact
Please tell us about the social impact of your idea or proect

Our project is uniquely designed to re-engage vulnerable learners who have stopped attending school, or are unemployed. By providing students with a “wrap around” approach of support we can move students toward graduation and employment by equipping them with trade skills and awareness. By delivering this college level course on Pauqauchin reserve we believe First Nation students will feel comfortable and positively engage in learning. This program will be a catalyst of change for this wide range of learners as they gather together and work toward a common goal. The sense of excitement, anticipation, and hope in the Pauquachin community is already very evident. The contagious optimism will have long lasting effects on the immediate community, its residents, and their life circumstances.

Your Future Goal(s): Tell us what you hope to achieve with your idea or project in the next year

Students attend, re-engage in learning, develop a focus on graduation, earn credits, complete the program, embrace employment.

In 5 years, what will be different as a result of your idea/project?

In five years the graduation rate on the four reserves within the boundaries of the Saanich School District will have increased because of this program. Role modeling by students re-engaging in education and accepting employment will positively impact youth. We hope this program will be the first step to becoming a certified tradesperson who will in turn, continue to mentor others in their community having a positive impact on employment within the community. Students will possess the ability to engage in small building improvement projects that will also have a direct impact on living conditions in the immediate community.

Tell us about the people/ partnerships that are already involved and why they are important to your idea or project.

A hallmark of this endeavour is the varied collection of partners. The layering of attributes the partners bring to the table promises to make the TASK program sustainable as we move from the pilot phase to regular implementation in coming years. The partners include: Saanich School District, Camosun College, Pauquachin First Nation, Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Coast Salish Employment Training Society, Blade Runners, Slegg Lumber, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, and over 25 businesses from the local construction sector. Commitment from partners is high enough that even if we lose a partner, the strength of the web created should still be able to sustain the project.

If there are other people/partners that you will reach out to tell us who they are and why they will be important to your idea or project.

The Saanich School District is providing two teachers skilled in career counseling, supported work experience placements, and the development and implementation of various apprenticeship training programs. They are key to pulling together all the partners, coordinating their efforts, and actually building the TASK program. They developed the program and can articulate the vision of the program to participants and potential partners alike.

Describe the kinds of support you receive (other than money) or will need to support your idea or project (e.g.: donated, space, equipment and volunteers)

Saanich School District is providing a team of two teachers to coordinate the program. Camosun College is providing the curriculum and program instructor. Victoria Native Friendship Centre is providing personal protective equipment. Coast Salish Employment Training Society is providing various training certificates. Slegg Lumber is helping with the acquisition of necessary building materials. Mark’s Work Wearhouse is helping with some of the required work clothing. Over 25 businesses from the local construction sector have offered to provide work experience placements for students as they transition into paid employment. Pauquachin First Nation has agreed to provide a class room and shop space to teach the program.

Do you currently have funding for your idea or project?

Yes (answer the next two questions)