Gulf Islands School district is celebrating 8 years of receiving grant funding to build capacity in Secondary School Apprenticeship. This program combines trades training which is 80% work-based and paid under an employer sponsor and 20% technical training.

Each year, a $1000 scholarship is available to students who have graduated high school, maintained a C+ average and completed over 900 hours of training in their trade by December 31st following graduation. This year, the district was pleased to present this award to Connor Hughes and Coast Phillips who are both studying to be Professional Cooks.

Connor became interested in cooking by taking Cafeteria classes in grade 9 with Chef Kilner and worked in a job at the Oceanside Inn in 2012 which gave him his first exposure to professional kitchens. He started work experience at the Café at Hope Bay in 2013. He was registered as an apprentice in 2015 and completed over 500 youth apprenticeship hours. In April 2015, as part of his grade 12+ transition program, Connor entered into the Cook Foundation Program at Camosun College. This program was 7 months in length and meant Connor would move to Victoria. Upon completion in December 2015, Connor started a new position as an apprentice at Jo’s Place on Pender Island where he worked until December 2016. Currently, Connor is cooking for the new Philly’s Diner at Hope Bay on Pender Island under newcomers to Pender, Phil Read and his partner, Sabrina.

SSA Awards at GISS

After trying Cafeteria courses with Chef Mark Kilner as a mentor, Coast was inspired to get hired at Rock Salt Restaurant in the summer of 2014 and completed work experience courses before registering as an apprentice under Matt Rissling. Coast felt at home in the cooking trade. It made sense for him to be earning high school credits for this time, so he registered for many of his academic classes through our off-campus Phoenix Program. This allowed him to take on more shifts at work and by summer of 2015, Coast had accumulated 700 hours of work based training.

Coast was recommended by his employer to attend the 6 week Level 1 Apprenticeship Training as part of his grade 12 year and completed Level 1 Professional Cook in March of 2016. By June of 2016, Coast had worked over 1800 hours and was able to finish his Level 2 Professional Cook training. While working, Coast continued to complete his courses required for graduation. Coast is now working towards his level 3 Professional Cook Training and final Red Seal Exam. He is 19 years old! The opportunity to graduate from high school by earning 24 grade 11 & 12 credits through the apprenticeship program gave Coast a head-start on his career as a Professional Cook.

SSA Awards at GISS

In addition to their work-based hours, both of our award winners were able to access technical training at college tuition free, before they graduated from high school. This program, known as dual credit was introduced in 2005 through an agreement between the Industry Training Authority (ITA), the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Advanced Education. Secondary schools were able to receive funding from the Ministry of Education to pay the tuition for students to pursue technical training in the skilled trades at college while still in high school.

Our school district has partnership agreements with many colleges in B.C. so that students can access training with colleges throughout B.C. However, we have been partnered with Camosun College since 1993 and as a partner we have access to seats saved for high school students in many college programs. Camosun College leads all other colleges in the province with the highest number of students participating in dual credit, and the highest retention rate.

Since 2005, over 1500 students have taken advantage of technical training tuition free at Camosun College. Sixty percent of students participating in dual credit programs went on to continue their studies at college. Carpentry has been the most popular trade, followed by automotive, cooking, welding and electrical.

The GISS Career Programs Team would like to thank this year’s sponsors, a group of incredible individuals and businesses who take the time and energy to train our students on their path to apprenticeship.

Akerman Electric, Adam Milner Plumbing & Heating, Beddis Road Garage, Bellavance Welding, Big Rock Metal Products, Bosun’s Whistle, Culture Salon & Day Spa, Dragland Design & Build, Embe Bakery, ExchangEnergy Inc, Fernwood Landscapes, Foreman CNC, Gord Speed Construction, Green Island Construction, Harbours End Marine & Equipment, Hazenboom Construction, Houle Electric, Island Legacy Construction, Island Marine Construction, Island Tree Care, Lancer Contracting, Modern Electric, Nicol Construction, Pheasant Hill Homes, Polaris Plumbing, Rock Salt Restaurant, , Salt Spring Garbage Services, SSI Golf & Country Club, SSI Hair Studio, SS Kitchen, Schure Thing Electrical, Scott’s Plumbing & Heating, Tony Hambrook Construction, Welbury Bay Construction, Wilson’s Reinforcing Steel, WoodinVision.

SSA Awards at GISS

Story: Shari Hambrook
Photos: John Cameron

SSA Awards at GISS