MRO Magazine

SAIT lets students build a trades career while still in high school

Human Resources

April 1, 2015
By Bill Roebuck

Calgary, AB — SAIT Polytechnic is bringing high school students to its campus for an early jump on trades training with a new dual-credit carpentry program. Students will graduate with their Grade 12 diploma and a Certificate of Completion in Pre-Employment Carpentry at the same time. They will also have the opportunity to challenge the written and practical exams for first-year Carpentry Apprenticeship.

The first cohort of 16 students — Grade 10 and 11 students from Calgary Board of Education — began taking carpentry classes at SAIT at the beginning of February. Classes run three times a week until graduation in the spring of 2016. The Calgary Catholic School District’s first students begin in September.

“This is the first trades-focused dual-credit program at SAIT and it’s a significant opportunity to expose young people and their parents to trades,” says Scott MacPherson, dean of the School of Construction at SAIT. “This program will give students a clearer sense of career options available to them with the hope that more people choose the trades to help industry fill a need for skilled workers.”

SAIT’s partnerships with industry helped launch the dual-credit program. The Calgary Construction Association (CCA) donated tools, a tool crib and personal protective equipment valued at more than $56,000, in an effort to ensure the students are learning with the latest equipment.


“Despite the energy cycles, if you look at the long-term potential and growth in our province, there will be a demand for workers,” says Fabrizio Carinelli, chair of the CCA. “From an industry perspective, it’s extremely important to make sure we have a healthy number of young individuals going through the education process so they are prepared to take on these new projects.”

The program covers everything from worksite safety to tool use to framing and wood joints. In the final semester, the students will complete the framing of a small house.

The high school students are completing the same curriculum as adults registered in SAIT’s full-time pre-employment carpenter program. This program has a 95% employment rate.

This is the second dual-credit program at SAIT. The first cohort of Pharmacy Assistant dual-credit students graduated in October 2014.

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