Liberals tackle trades

The Liberals would build a new trades wing at FH Collins, if elected. It would cost $10 million, said Riverdale South candidate Dan Curtis on Monday.

The Liberals would build a new trades wing at FH Collins, if elected.

It would cost $10 million, said Riverdale South candidate Dan Curtis on Monday.

“People might ask about the price tag,” he said. “But $10 million is a pittance when we are investing in our community and don’t have to bring employees in from Outside.

“If we didn’t invest in our youth, it would result in a much higher price tag.”

The Liberals don’t separate academics from trades, added Curtis, who’s executive director of Skills Canada, Yukon.

RELATED:Read all of our election coverage.

The NDP referred to those interested in trades as “less academically inclined,” he added.

“But to us, trades and technology people are as important as lawyers and doctors.”

FH Collins was built in the 1960s, and if people suddenly learned the government wasn’t going to build a new school, they’d be “up in arms,” said Curtis.

“Well, we’re up in arms that they’re not planning on building a new trades wing.”

The new school is expected to cost $60 million. The existing shop wing was not set to be replaced, as it was built in the mid-70s and recently had its air and heating systems replaced.

If the new trades wing could be tacked onto the existing blueprints for the new school, without slowing down the project, this is what the Liberals would do, said Curtis.

If not, the trades wing will be built separately, he said.

“A new shop would be “very expensive” and “difficult to absorb in our budget,” said Education’s facilities project manager Gord deBruyn in a past interview.

“We expect to get at least another 20 to 40 years out of it,” added deBruyn.

The bricks and mortar might last another 20 years, said Curtis.

But that doesn’t cut it, when it comes to trades today, he said. And its “offensive” for them to suggest the trades wing is “fine, when it is far from the status quo.”

Trades and technology are developing in leaps and bounds, he said.

“And we’re not keeping up with needs in the workforce.”

Many of the new mining projects would prefer to hire locals from the communities, said Curtis.

“But we haven’t provided the building blocks for people in the communities to get the training they need to work in these mines.”

The Liberal fix is “a self-contained mobile trades unit,” said Klondike Liberal candidate Sandy Silver, speaking from Dawson City.

This $2.5-million mobile unit would move from community to community, supplying training in trades or technologies, where needed.

Ross River, for example, has a great welding program, said Curtis. “But it’s limited.”

The mobile unit would “add training to mining-related careers,” he said. “And it would enhance the skill set people have in the communities now.”

The Liberals also want to look at “guaranteed work placement” for Yukoners graduating from certified trades programs, said Silver.

As a teacher, Silver knows how many students drop out of school in the territory.

“Students in Dawson are dropping out of school to work in the field,” he said.

“We have to reach those students.”

The Liberals are also promising to assist tradespersons educated in Yukon through a “tools-to-work” program that would provide a tax rebate to workers purchasing tools essential to practicing trades.

They also want to create opportunities for apprentices to obtain inter-provincial certification, and plan to partner with Yukon First Nations, NGOs, the federal government, Yukon College and local unions to develop and fund an extensive marketing strategy promoting Yukon as a hub for skills and trades training, especially for those students looking for specialized accreditation to work in northern climates.

“People are already coming here to train and learn, and we want this to be the best place to train in Canada,” said Curtis.

Contact Genesee Keevil at gkeevil@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Awaken Festival organizers Meredith Pritchard, Colin Wolf, Martin Nishikawa inside the Old Firehall in Whitehorse on May 11. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Performing arts fest plans to awaken artistic talent in Whitehorse and the rural North

‘A value of ours is to make theatre as accessible as possible.’

April Mikkelsen tosses a disc during a ladies only disc golf tournament at Solstice DiscGolfPark on May 8. John Tonin/Yukon News
Yukon sees its first-ever women’s disc golf tournament

The Professional Disc Golf Assocation had a global women’s event last weekend. In the Yukon, a women’s only tournament was held for the first time ever.

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

A prescribed burn is seen from the lookout at Range Road and Whistle Bend Way in Whitehorse May 12. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Editorial: Are you ready for a forest fire?

Citizens for a Firesmart Whitehorse have listed some steps for Yukoners to boost safety and awareness

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Most Read