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Getting down to business

Fourteen of Kivalliq's finest enter Pre-Trades program

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Coral Harbour (May 23/01) - The academic bar is higher than ever, but 14 of the Kivalliq's brightest adult students are rising to the challenge.

They assembled recently in Rankin Inlet for an eight-week Pre-Trades program.

The course is offered through the Community Learning Centre and funded by the Department of Education and Kivalliq Partners in Development.

The centre's Bob Spensley says the program's academic standards are tougher than usual.

"We selected the keenest students who had achieved the highest academic level in math and science and came up with these 14 students from 37 applicants," says Spensley. "I've been impressed by their maturity and focus."

Five students were selected from the Introductory Carpentry program in Rankin, four from the Introduction to Mining program, two were chosen from Whale Cove, one from the Science and Technology program in Rankin, and one each from the Dreambuilders programs in Rankin and Repulse Bay.

"Most of these students have already been in other programs preparing for this course.

"This is the end result of a whole year of training, be that a practical course like carpentry, or a theoretical one like science and technology."

The Pre-Trades course is geared towards helping students pass their Trades Entrance Exam to allow them to become apprentices and continue towards their goals of becoming journeymen tradespeople.

"Once they pass the exam, they can hook up with a local contractor or the Department of Public Works in the field of their choice and enter the Department of Education's Apprenticeship program.

"The whole focus of our efforts is to get more Inuit into the trades."

Jim Shirley and Darren Graden will serve as instructors.

Shirley says it's important to recognize the potential and capability of the region's youth.

"They will be the ones to solve a lot of the problems we're facing in our region today," says Shirley. "These students are intelligent, mature and serious about what they want to do.

"This is a solid group of potential leaders, not just as tradespeople, but in society."