June 4, 2014 5:44 pm

Calgary students get hands-on lesson thanks to unique program

CALGARY- The sky is the limit for a group of Calgary high school students who have just completed an exploratory ironworking program.

The eight week program in the public school system was offered for the first time this spring, in partnership with Ironworkers Local 725.

Students selected for the program spent Monday to Thursday afternoons learning new skills at the union’s training centre in southeast Calgary.

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“One of the things we’re trying to do with high school students is answer one of the issues of the province, which is a shortage of skilled labour in this province,” says Jack James High School principal Bill Bobenic.

“It’s a win-win” adds instructor Oakley Cooper, adding the students were pushed to their limits.

“We didn’t baby them.”

Some of the students were selected to the program because of difficulties they were experiencing difficulty in their home or school life. Dallas Macleod, who’s in Grade 11, says he was in trouble with the law and smoking weed before he enrolled in the program.

He says the past eight weeks have “changed his life.”

The pilot program, paid for entirely by Ironworkers Local 725, will be offered again this fall.

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