Youth at risk of coming into contact with the law face multiple challenges including unstable home environments, homelessness and poverty. Drug addictions, prostitution, crime and gang involvement can seem like easy solutions to these challenges but a new trades training centre aims to give these youth another option. The Trading Up Program at the newly constructed Tamarack Trades Training Centre in Ottawa will teach at-risk youth marketable trades skills. The hope is the program will instill within young people a newfound sense of confidence and provide them with viable career path options. The carpentry program is already running and staff can see the pride and confidence that comes from youth when they build something. The rest of the training programs will begin soon in addition to job placement and social supports. The centre will allow at-risk youth to explore the following trades:
- Automotive – small engine repair, tire balancing
- Carpentry – dry wall, framing
- Electrical – wiring
- Welding – using flammable and non-flammable gases
- Horticulture – landscaping
The centre is run by the Youth Services Bureau (YSB) in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. It hopes to train 300 youth each year to prepare them for employment and apprenticeship programs.
The Training Trades Centre has established connections with the local school boards and uses an evidence-based holistic approach that provides a variety of supports to students including mental health and housing supports through the YSB. Half of the building will be used for a school-based academic program and the other half will be used for trades training with mentorship from instructors already working in the industry.
Above all, the centre hopes to give these youth a second chance. The program will empower youth to make positive choices and transition back into their community through meaningful employment and education opportunities.
To learn more, visit the YSB Foundation website.