SUMMERSIDE – More than 500 high school students from Summerside, Kinkora and Kensington can now gather under one roof to train for skilled trades.
The 25,000-square-foot East Prince Career and Technical Education Centre, next door to Three Oaks Senior High, was officially opened on Monday.
Students training in the automotive, carpentry, robotics and aerospace trades have been enjoying the new multi-million dollar facility since the beginning of this school year.
“The smart technology we have here sure beats the little TV set and the VCR we had at the old place,” said Johnathan Gamble, a Grade 12 carpentry student at TOSH. “Everything is state-of-the-art and comparable to what we may be using in (the) real world. We waste less time because we don’t have to travel by bus to class… and we can also participate in school assemblies and guest speakers because we just have to walk over to the school. It makes us feel like we’re part of the school community.”
Previously, students from the area were bused to a smaller building in the Summerside industrial park to take some classes. The new centre, which students and staff have dubbed “the C-Tech building,” combines all the trades courses under one roof.
Students say the centre has better lighting and ventilation, and more space than the building in the industrial park.
The area is also fenced in for better security since it contains the buildings, airplanes and vehicles students use for training.
The province invested nearly $4.7 million to construct the C-Tech centre to help promote training in skilled trades.
“There’s one commodity that everyone’s looking for when it comes to employers out there. It’s not that (provinces) have oil… gas… minerals, any of these things. The number one commodity is having a skilled labour workforce,” said Premier Robert Ghiz, who attended the building’s opening. “Our young people are going to be our best investment we have to make into the future when it comes to finding new businesses to set up here and in getting businesses to expand.”
There are now 23 course options available in career technical education in high schools across the Island.
Three Oaks principal, Nicole Haire, spoke on behalf of principals from the three schools sending students to the new facility. She said the C-Tech centre allows students to be more competitive in the job market and participate in post-secondary education.
“Having our TOSH trade students on campus means no loss of instructional time to accommodate travel to the old facility, as well as the opportunity for our students to be more actively involved in school life,” she said.
“Times have changed more than a little since I was a student here at Three Oaks in 1985, and we have an obligation to help our students… prepare for life and work in the 21st century.”