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Students shine in Registered Apprenticeship Program

While most high school students get a summer job to pass time and earn a little extra cash, Nathan Sims and Owen Simon spent their time exploring future career paths at the City of Lethbridge. As part of this year’s Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), they both landed jobs with the Facility Services department.

“These are two of the hardest working students we’ve had,” says Brent Nemeth, Maintenance Manager with Facility Services. “We’ve had a great summer with them.”

Over the last two months, Nathan has worked alongside City electricians while Owen worked in plumbing. Both say the hands-on experience has helped solidify their career goals.

Nathan, a 16-year-old student entering grade 12 at Catholic Central High School, has been impressed with the range of experiences.

“I had done a little bit of electrical work with my buddy’s Grandpa before, so I knew it was something I liked, says Nathan “But here I got to do everything from climbing on the roof of a buildings to hooking up electrical panels.”

For Owen, a grade 11 student at Kate Andrews High School in Coaldale, the opportunity confirmed what he wants to do after high school.

“I really enjoy working with my hands and I loved seeing how the different systems work together,” says Owen “I even learned how to repair backflows which was fun. I know this is the kind of work I want to do.”

The City has been participating in RAP for several years and Facility Services typically gets one student in each of the areas of electrical, plumbing and carpentry. In addition, students also had RAP placements with Fleet Services and Traffic Signals this summer. These RAP positions are facilitated by CAREERS: The Next Generation and the City of Lethbridge. CAREERS works with employers and school divisions to place high school students in paid internships.

“Just like any job, students have to apply and go through an interview,” says Brent. “The selection process is a good learning experience for the students, but it also gives some of our tradespeople the opportunity to be involved in the interview and hiring process which isn’t something they usually get to do.”

RAP is a cost sharing Government of Alberta program designed to expose students to the trades. Participants can earn a wage, get high school credits and on-the-job apprenticeship hours for a head-start toward journeyperson certification after high school. More information on how RAP works is available at here.

“We try to give them as much experience as possible, in the short time that they are with us” says Brent. “With the diverse portfolio of facilities and complex building systems we maintain at the City, they can see firsthand many things that they might not get to experience or be exposed to in other workplaces.”

The department often stays in touch with past students recommending job opportunities within the industry and providing references. By the glowing reviews Brent has for Nathan and Owen, we might just see them again as part of our City of Lethbridge team a few years down the road. We wish them both the best of luck in their school year and their future career aspirations.

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