In front of more than 300 secondary school students, recent graduate Kevin Kirk expressed his passion for a school program he says changed his life.
"The ACE IT program is a win-win decision," he told his former peers.
Kirk graduated two years ago after taking the automotive ACE IT program at Seaquam Secondary.
Accelerated Credit Enrollment Industry Training (ACE IT) allows students to begin accredited trades training while still in high school. Students complete secondary school and embark on a career in the trades simultaneously, giving them a head start on their careers.
"It's a really neat way to get into a career, and you can start in high school," said Rodger Hargreaves, manager of youth initiatives with the Industry Training
Authority, the provincial Crown agency responsible for overseeing B.C.'s industry training and apprenticeship system.
Hargreaves and Kirk were both guest speakers at a recent trades forum held at Delta Secondary.
The purpose of the forum was to educate students about the different tradesbased careers available to them, and to inform them of the programs offered by the Delta school district to facilitate these career paths.
The automotive, cook and carpentry ACE IT programs are offered at Seaquam and North Delta secondary schools.
In addition to these programs, partnerships with post-secondary institutions and industry trades training schools expand the options available to students.
Students can also study electrical, welding, horticulture, masonry, millwright, metal fabrication, painting and roofing.
For Kirk, being able to get started on an automotive career while still in high school was an invaluable experience.
"The ACE IT program changed my life," he told the crowd.
Kirk now works at Fountain Tire and says he thoroughly enjoys going to work every day. He is currently apprenticing as a mechanic and will be a journeyman by the time he is 20.
He told the crowd the ACE IT program is good at connecting students to great employers after high school graduation.
Joining Kirk and Hargreaves as presenters at the forum were representatives from various partners of the school district's trades programs, including
BCIT, Kwantlen and PCL Construction. Several other past and current trades program students also spoke.
Approximately 325 students from throughout Delta attended the forum.
For more information on trades programs, visit the school district website at web.deltasd.bc.ca.