Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trailers bring shops classes to students

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Nancy Allan, minister of education (left), watches as instructor Frank Jess demonstrates carpentry to Samuel Lopez.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Nancy Allan, minister of education (left), watches as instructor Frank Jess demonstrates carpentry to Samuel Lopez. Photo Store

YOU can add industrial shops to a school for a cost of millions -- or you can just truck a bunch of shops over to the school.

Education Minister Nancy Allan was at Red River College Wednesday, checking out a pilot project to give junior high kids a taste of shops.

"Isn't that fantastic?" Allan said as she watched two dozen Grade 7 and 8 students from Elmwood High School try out trades such as electricity, welding and carpentry.

Various industries in Manitoba have been unable to find enough people qualified in such trades.

The mobile shops come in an 18-metre trailer with pop-up sides -- the trailer folds into a vehicle the width of a semi-trailer, but expands into a 950-square-foot training facility.

The province and RRC have two outfitted trailers worth a total of $3 million, and hope to have many more junior high schools try them out next year, said Marti Ford, the college's dean of indigenous education.

The Elmwood students are trying out the mobile shops once a week for three weeks.

"We run an introduction to the trades," said April Krahn, director of aboriginal student support and community relations. "The opportunities are there for electricity, welding, plumbing, carpentry" and other trades.

The trailer includes an exhaust system and satellite capability, as well as a generator.

"The focus is aboriginal and rural communities," Krahn said.

-- Nick Martin

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 3, 2013 A10

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