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Nailed it: Fredericton high school encouraging students to train in trades

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Some students at Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton are working on building their futures in the trades.

A lot of industries are desperate for workers and skilled trades are in high demand.

"I'm more of a hands-on kind of guy,” said Grade 11 student Tyson Foster. “I don't really like sitting in the classroom and it gives me free range of what I'd like to do with my future.”

The students say they learn more than just the labour skills.

“I think communication is really the biggest one” Nate St-Pierre said. “Instead of just working on homework or working on sheets, you're putting the teamwork together.”

Leading up to the holidays, they've been putting those skills to use building decorative Christmas trees.

Instructors say the skills they're learning here held build the foundation for many fields.

"Supplying people that can actually think and develop skills that can actually lead to a really fruitful career in skilled trades or some adjacent field,” said Joell Gallant, a skill trades instructor at Leo Hayes. “Or we end up equipping them with some good home maintenance skills.”

Three classes of 20 students are learning a wide range of skills. But the instructors are hoping to see a wider range of people in class.

"If you can't see it then you can't be it,” Gallant said. “So when more Grade 9 and 10 students see Grade 11 and 12 students that look just like them taking this course, then they think that's something I can do, too.”

Gallant hopes to see more diversification in tradespeople.

"One of my professional goals for the last year-and-a-half has been to increase the amount of people who identify other than male taking our courses,” Gallant said. “So we were at zero out of 20 and now we're at two out of 20, which is not a lot but it's trending in the right direction.”

With industry in need of workers, they’re hoping trades become their students’ first choice of career.

"We also really try to wipe out the stereotype that if you can't do anything else, you go into the trades,” said Shane Hoyt the skilled trades department head at Leo Hayes. “We work very hard in that the trades are a great career they're challenging and once you get involved you see all the opportunities.”

Some students are already planning their futures.

"I want to go in the trades, I think the power line trades,” St-Pierre said.

"I'm not one of those people who want to sit in an office and type on a keyboard,” Foster said.

Items made and sold by the students put cash right back in the program's fund for supplies.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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