More than 100 high school students equipped with safety training and an interest in the skilled trades have started their summer co-op work placements in the construction sector. The students are part of the Building Futures for Youth program, which gives Grade 11 students an opportunity to safely explore a career in Nova Scotia’s construction industry. The program was developed by the Construction Association of Nova Scotia in partnership with the departments of Education, Labour and Workforce Development and the Nova Scotia Community College. “The students participating in the Building Futures for Youth program are gaining the skills and experience needed to fill good jobs, while making connections with some of the provinces best employers,” said Education Minister Marilyn More. “This program is a perfect example of government, industry and the education community working together to grow this provinces workforce and economy.” Building Futures for Youth was launched as a pilot program in 2008 with seven students from the Halifax Regional School Board participating. The following year it was expanded into Chignecto Central and Cape Breton-Victoria Regional school boards with 36 students participating. The program is now offered in all school boards with 103 students enrolled. Adam Smith, a student working with JW Lindsay Enterprises for the summer, became interested in Building Futures for Youth after seeing the success his brother had in the program. “I’m only 17 years old and I have already had the opportunity to learn new skills and gain valuable experience in several different trades,” said Mr. Smith. “In the future I could see myself with a successful career in the trades, and just like my brother, I feel like on am on a pathway to success.” Before beginning their placements, students receive two weeks of construction-specific safety training from Nova Scotia Community College. They also receive a full day of training from the Construction Association of Nova Scotia on workplace expectations. Carol MacCulloch, president of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, said the industry trade association of more than 700 employers has been transformed through our Building Futures for Youth experiences. “We are engaged in a meaningful relationship with the education system, enriched by our school board partnerships, and energized by the enthusiasm of the students and their families while actively working to ensure a future skilled construction workforce that will benefit all Nova Scotians. You really can’t ask for more from a program.” Students who participate in Building Futures for Youth are compensated for their work by their employer and receive high school co-operative education credits for every 100 hours. Students are also issued a pre-apprenticeship identification card and may be eligible to register as a youth apprentice. Students can also gain apprenticeship hours for work performed under the supervision of a certified journeyperson. Upon successful completion, a student will receive up to 300 hours apprenticeship credit when they register in an apprenticeship program. “Through this program, the construction industry is gaining the talent and ambition of some of the most professional youth I have ever encountered,” said Royce Williston, president of Higgins Construction. “By providing these students with experience, advice and direction I am helping them make decisions about their futures, and hopefully some will choose to build a career in Nova Scotia’s construction sector.” For more information about the Building Futures for Youth program visit www.buildingfutures.ca .