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If school doesn’t work out, try skilled-trades

Disinterested in school and trapped in a cycle of skipping classes,getting suspended and apologizing to the principal, her Halifax highschool finally decided it was done, too.

At 15, Krista Lindsay decided she’d had enough of Grade 10.

Disinterested in school and trapped in a cycle of skipping classes, getting suspended and apologizing to the principal, her Halifax high school finally decided it was done, too.

“Eventually I just wasn’t allowed back in and that was it,” says Lindsay, now 19. “I convinced myself that I’d be able to find work.”

Two years later, living with her parents and unhappy that her only job prospects were behind a fast food counter, Lindsay learned about a skilled-trades apprenticeship for young people who are eager to get out working but don’t necessarily see themselves on a university campus.

“Workit,” a provincial initiative launched in 2005, allows youth between 16 and 20 to become certified in one of more than 60 designated trades in Nova Scotia, including plumbing, carpentry and electrical.

Depending on the trade, youth apprentices can expect to log about 8,000 hours of paid work experience and complete a technical component at Nova Scotia Community College.

Before becoming a youth apprentice, Lindsay says she didn’t enjoy high school “because it didn’t create that link between school and a job.”

But with an enjoyable career nowhere in sight, Lindsay recognized it was time to make a change. She contacted her old high school and was permitted to enrol in its co-op program, which placed her at a manufacturing company. The placement soon led to a youth apprenticeship.

Lindsay, who’s now balancing Grade 12 studies and training to become a machinist, describes her career choice as “a perfect fit.”

“I like the technicality of it,” says Lindsay. “You have to be very precise with what you’re doing and I love making things.”

 
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