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Homework and workbenches

Philippe Morin
Northern News Services

Aklavik (Dec 04/06) - Aklavik's Billy Storr says students should consider learning a skilled trade.

"There are lots of trades out there," he said. "If you're good with your hands, it's high-paying and high-demand."

NNSL Photo/graphic

Contractor, Billy Storr is also a member of the Aklavik and Beaufort Delta Education boards. - Philippe Morin/NNSL photo

Storr worked in heavy road construction for 20 years, and said the job offered plenty of opportunity and a good salary, because skilled workers are always needed in the developing Arctic.

But while Storr is today retired from construction - having ended his career in 1981 - he is a member of Aklavik's District Education Authority and the Beaufort Delta Education Council, which are trying to get more students interested in trades.

At the Beaufort Delta Regional Conference in Inuvik on Nov. 28, Storr said secondary schools should host more programs such as auto repair or woodworking classes, which he said inspired him to find his career.

"That's where it all started," he said of a welding and woodworking class at Inuvik's Samuel Hearne secondary high school.

While Northern development and the oil and gas industry are creating many jobs for mechanically-skilled students in the North, Storr said many schools aren't doing enough to train students for these opportunities.

The situation is especially unfortunate in Aklavik, he said, where a fully-equipped shop-class currently sits unused because there's no money to hire a teacher.

"A lot of students are more technically-minded, but we don't have a shop class," he said.

"We don't want to see them discouraged because they might have some trouble succeeding at physics or chemistry.