Kelowna youth encouraged to pursue a rewarding career in trades

Jordan Ryan appreciates the financial security from the trades and is encouraging other students to explore a trades career.

Students in Kelowna are getting an education while learning real world skills. Central Okanagan Public Schools and Industry Training Authority (ITA) offer students the chance to develop a trade skill while earning high school and post-secondary credits at the same time.  

Jordan Ryan (pictured above) took the dual credit ITA Youth Trades program at Kelowna Secondary School and started the welding program at Okanagan College before graduating high school. By deciding in grade 11 which trade he wanted to go into, he was able to get into first year of college-level technical training while still in high school. 

Jordan earned his Red Seal in welding and became a proud homeowner at the young age of 22. He appreciates the financial security from the trades and is encouraging other students to explore a trades career.

“What I enjoy most about the trades is being able to live a healthy and balanced life, free from financial distress and close to my family and home,” said Jordan. “I tell all high school students to give the dual credit ITA Youth Trades program a shot with whatever trade they are interested in. It may seem challenging to start a course in college while in high school, but with whatever may happen, you'll only come out ahead.”

Calvin Jackson also took the ITA Youth in Trades program while at Kelowna Secondary School. His journey began roofing and siding as an architectural sheet metal worker during the construction of the new Canyon Falls Middle School in Kelowna. He’s currently at Okanagan College finishing his level 3 technical training for sheet metal fabrication. 

“The youth trade sample got me hooked, and it made me want to keep doing it,” said Calvin. “The dual credit ITA program gave me a head start on my career choice.”

And Calvin’s parents are happy with that choice. 

“We’re supportive of Calvin choosing a career in trades because it offers strong employment opportunities and the potential for a good salary and benefits,” said Mike Jackson, Calvin’s father. “He has always been very mechanically-minded, but he hadn’t been able to find a university program that interested him. The trades program did, so it was a great fit.”

Mike said there is also a potential cost savings for parents. “Attending trade school in Kelowna allows the student to continue living at home and avoid the cost of attending school in another city. And with good employment opportunities for trades in Kelowna, the student doesn’t have to move for work.”

Calvin has his own advice for parents who aren’t sure about the trades. “Give it a chance. Even if your kids don’t stick with it, they’ll gain practical knowledge. It’s a good life skill to have.” 

Central Okanagan Public Schools has 25 dual credit ITA Youth Trades programs. For more information, visit

November is Apprenticeship Recognition Month in British Columbia because apprentices make valuable contributions to building and maintaining thriving communities throughout the province. 

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