The School District 78 welding cohort, minus one member, in welding gear. Nine students graduated from the program Jan. 23 and are ready to start careers in welding after high school graduation. Submitted photo

WATCH: Agassiz and Hope students become welders

All have jobs waiting for them in a booming industry

Six months spent in a welding trailer came to an end Jan. 23.

Nine students received their certificates of completion from the School District 78 welding program. Parents, friends and a host of dignitaries came to the ceremony at Hope Secondary School to celebrate their achievement.

The program is part of a broader push in the school district and by the province, to prepare students for the workforce. Together with Thompson Rivers University, the pre-trades welding program gives students a chance to learn a hands-on trade before they graduate.

It was an emotional day for many, who worked hard to bring this program to life.

“I might buy something that they’ve welded, I might live in a condo they’ve built, I might drive over a bridge they’ve built,” Karl Koslowsky said as he presented the students with their certificates.

The graduates come from Agassiz, Hope and as far away as Penticton.

Agassiz Elementary Secondary School graduates are Molly Nootebos, Warren McIntyre and Morgan Rumpeltes.

From Hope Secondary School Hope O’Krane, Axel Duncan, Riley McAllister, Vincent Pellegrino and Kyle Snihur received their certificates.

Adult student Jason Chiupka from Penticton also completed the program, moving away from his wife and daughter to complete the Hope-based program.

Hope business owner Ray Zervini was also honoured at the graduation for reducing barriers for students to enter these trades programs. Zervini supplied all the clothes, tools and safety equipment for the welding cohort at a low cost through Canyon Cable.

Students coming out of the program already have multiple job offers, a testament to the need for trades-ready graduates in the B.C. economy.

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Jason Chiupka, left, and Karl Koslowsky share an embrace as Chiupka celebrates his completion of a six-month welding program held at Hope Secondary School. Submitted photo

Nine students from Hope, Agassiz and Penticton graduated from the 2017-18 welding program on Jan. 23. Submitted photo

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