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Try-A-Trade works as advertised

By May 9, 2024No Comments
E.S. Laird Middle School’s Samih Afgan tried out some virtual reality technology at Try-A-Trade on April 30 with help from Daniel Cronan, a marketing rep with the Regina Work Prep Centre. Geoff Lee Meridian Source


The annual bi-provincial Try-A-Trade Career Expo is not showing any signs of rust.

The 12th edition of the event, held on April 30, managed to attract more than 1,600 students from regional schools in Saskatchewan and Alberta as usual to take in the trades demos and exhibitors.

Try-A-Trade is also open to the general public and home-schooled youth.

“It’s still going great,” said lead organizer Dorothy Carson, executive director of the Lloydminster Construction Association.

“We have overwhelming support from the school divisions as well as employers. The trades are in more demand than ever and there are lots of employers who are looking for skilled trades.”

Stan Bugiera, an apprenticeship and industry training officer with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, can attest to that.

“We have a responsibility to promote trades and assist apprentices,” he said.

“We do talks at schools and we go to industry and help the employers get apprentices going because we’re so short of trades right now.”

Bugiera says Try-A-Trade is all about trying to plant the seed in the minds of younger students to consider a career in the trades.

“Industry is just crying for tradespeople (including women),” he said.

“Basically, you can get a journeyman certificate for free with the grants and so forth as opposed to the student debt you get going to university.”

Trevor Malone, a pumping unit service field supervisor with Weatherford, was out to show how many different trades and openings exist with their artificial lift systems. 

“When you come to work at Weatherford and artificial lifts, we have four different apprenticeship programs you could pursue,” he said.

Those are for apprenticeship millwrights, boom truck operators, electricians and welders.

“We’re always looking for entry-level or experienced tradespeople. We need workers to satisfy customer demands,” said Malone.

To attract the eye of students, Weatherford set up a model of its Rotaflex long-stroke oil pumping unit and one pump jack at its booth.

Quick and simple was all about the hammer and nail demo using a wood beam provided by Lakeland College.

Carpentry instructor Curtis Cassibo thinks Try-A-Trade “opens your eyes on careers that are out there,” as he put it.

“With everything happening in technology today, we need lots of people with hands-on skills. It’s great for the kids to come out and see this.”

Blaine Stephan, co-owner of Guardian Plumbing and Heating had a whole bunch of demos going as usual and students eager to give them a try.

“We’ve got our soldering display and our ABS pipe gluing display,” said Stephan.

“We’ve got our sewer camera here teaching kids about the technology plumbing and heating has to offer, and maybe getting them excited about something they never knew about before.”

Stephan thinks the trades’ demos are really important and he’s been doing them every year. 

“Most people don’t have a clue what we do and so this is a way for them to get their hands on and take some of the fear out of it,” he said.