When looking at building a career after finishing high school, a lot of young people overlook the trades as a viable option. Many are unaware that the trades offer high-tech jobs with good working conditions and long-term contracts – perfect for young families looking for stability and opportunity This week, Prince George Transit hosted a trades tour to show some high schoolers from the Career Technical Centre the inner workings and high-tech side of the transit and motorcoach industry.

The CTC program allows students to graduate from high school with their first year of technical training already completed. During a student’s Grade 11 or 12 year of high school, they take a program at the College of New Caledonia, graduating with both a high school diploma and a CNC Certificate in a wide range of trades.

The group was led by Doug Borden, head of the Prince George CTC program and Senior Automotive Instructor at the CNC. Trades Instructor Peter Borchawa from the CNC also accompanied it. Right off the bat, we showed these eager students what it’s like to work on buses and coaches. Our shop foreman, Sam Campbell, had a fault planted on the Prince George Cougars motorcoach. He then walked the class through how the operator would see the fault in the drivers compartment and file a deficiency on the drivers report.

After that, Sam demonstrated a diagnostic of the fault that included printing the wiring schematics and following the wiring in the bus to find the fault. He also led a facility tour showing how we work on buses hoisted in the air (required with low floor/air ride equipment) and our involvement in mid-life work like engine/transmission replacements on transit buses. It was a great day, and the students really got the grand tour of our shop.

Trade tours like this are important for us to host because young people interested in the trades often have no exposure to the transportation industry and overlook it when considering a line of employment. Transit and Coach work is high-tech, often clean, and very detail-oriented – providing a rich experience for someone interested in being engaged in their profession. Transit work also provides an excellent work/life balance because it is based in the city you live in, and coming home every night to the same address is essential for those with young families.

Finally, trades offer above-average wages and a career path to young people that affords them a lifestyle that would otherwise not be possible without years of post-secondary education. High school students are usually surprised to find that sponsored apprenticeships include pay while in school and all tuition/books costs covered for a Red Seal apprenticeship program. We look forward to hosting many more students to get the word out that an apprenticeship in the trades can lead to a successful and satisfying career in transportation.