SD46 students have a “taste for jobs”
As 30 elementary students gathered on the outdoor basketball court at Gibsons Elementary School on March 31, the collective clank of their hammers rang out.
Their lesson, courtesy of Skills Ready instructor Rene Ragetli, helped each student make a bracelet from a flat strip of copper. He walked them through sanding, shaping and coloring the metal with a torch in a technique similar to “fire painting,” Ragetli said.
“It’s not much different from what a plumber would use to solder copper pipes.”
Over the course of three days, approximately 270 students from Chatlech, Elphinstone and Gibsons High Schools learned skills that a sheet metal worker could use. Some of the older students also made aluminum bowls.
“I think it’s important to do these kinds of hands-on workshops with school-aged kids to plant those seeds and have those early conversations, it also helps connect it to what they can do in high school. Very often, we end up making decisions based on what our siblings are doing, our parents are doing, or whatever our friends are doing. And we’re not necessarily trying something that’s outside of that bubble,” Ragetli said. “So it’s to give these young people a little taste of the trades, to have a project that they can create themselves, which will be unique… and that arouses a little pride.
The Skills Ready program also provides age-appropriate information on careers and apprenticeships to share alternative options with academics.