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Powering up trades skills
Skills NWT gives Grade 8 students access to experience trades

Lyndsay Herman
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 2, 2013

Students from Behchoko and Fort Providence had the opportunity to explore future careers in the trades last week during the annual Power Up conference.

NNSL photo/graphic

Central Mechanical employee Rolly Comeau, right, helps Ryanna Bonnetrouge, 13, of Fort Providence construct a tool box during the Skills NWT Power Up conference in Yellowknife on Nov. 25. - Lyndsay Herman/NNSL photo

"The conference is open to the whole territory, but travel costs can be an obstacle because we don't have any funding for that," Fullerton said.

While Skills NWT is part of a national organization, each branch operates independently of the others and is responsible for securing its own funds.

The Power Up Conference requires a registration fee of either $5 or $10 per student, depending on how early the student registers. However, students are not denied access to the conference if money is the issue, said Fullerton.

"Not often, but occasionally we have waived the fee if we have to."

Thirteen-year-old Raykiel Football was one of the students to attend the conference from Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School in Behchoko.

She attended a workshop run by the Canadian Forces. Football said while she wasn't overly interested in the subject, she was grateful for the opportunity to see friends she knew in Yellowknife and make new connections in the city.

Football was only able to attend the one workshop since the bus, which transported students between Behchoko and Yellowknife, was the same bus used to transport students to and from school on a regular schedule.

Fullerton said the situation was unfortunate, adding another mode of transportation will be "something to look into in future years."

Leah Baptiste, also 13, took a photography workshop in order to learn more about a hobby she was interested in.

Baptiste, from Fort Providence, joined classmates from Deh Gah School and planned to return home that evening after the conference wrapped up around 4 p.m.

Approximately 100 female students attended the first session on Nov. 25, and 130 male students attended the second day on Nov. 26.

The conference targets Grade 8 students as they prepare to select their high school courses and start looking toward post-secondary education.

"The main goal for the conference for Grade 8 students is so they can have some hands-on experiences with different trades before they have to start picking courses in high school," said Fullerton.

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