Starting this year, students in the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District taking the metal fabrication foundations program are able to receive a new, additional marine fitting certification.
“It’s a skill set that’s unique, that’s in demand and it’s also very sought after provincially and nationally,” said Brad Dingler, trades and apprenticeships coordinator with SD42.
The program expansion was made possible through the district’s partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to provide trades training to high school students in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
SD42 is one of four districts chosen by BCIT to receive funding from a $5.5 million grant donated by the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation in conjunction with Seaspan ULC and Southern Railway of British Columbia.
“It opens up opportunities for our students that were previously not available,” Dingler explained. “It allows us to offer students more industry-ready skills that enable them to enter the workforce with a greater understanding of the industry.”
The marine fitter endorsement extends the current metal fabrication program by three weeks to provide training in the shipbuilding and repair industry.
Students will learn how to create lofts, read blueprints, construct and repair ship structures, outfit ships, and erect hull blocks.
Grade 12 student Demetre Cherras is in the metal fabrication program and says this is a great opportunity.
“I’m thinking maybe I can get a job easier with it,” he explained. “It’s a pretty sweet job too, it’s pretty cool to say that I would be 18 and working in marine fitting, so I really like that opportunity. It’s going to be awesome.”
Student Kai Briggs, who is also taking the program this year, agreed.
“It gives you a lot more options on what you can do,” she said. “Especially at a young age, it’s good to have all of those things.”
Alexis Loukianov, another trades student, says he already works in the industry surveying and inspecting vessels, but this would change things.
“I see all that fitting and everything done,” he explained. “It would be a different story if I was doing it.”
The curriculum for the marine fitter endorsement was developed by BCIT in consultation with industry professionals and will be delivered by experienced instructors. Entrance into the program, however, is limited to students who have successfully completed metal fabricator level 1.
“The funding is going to benefit our students for seven years, which is a significant investment in not only the youth in our community, but the general trades availability in the future,” Dingler noted.
In addition to the new marine fitting certification, the funding will also be used to make the program more accessible to students by minimizing costs like transportation, textbooks and consumables.
“This funding has reduced that financial barrier so we can now offer it to youth who may not have thought of it as an option in the past,” Dingler said. “It’s made it not only accessible, but an increased in-demand trade in our school district.”
For more information about SD42’s apprenticeship training programs, including metal fabrication, click here.