An expanded skilled trades program at Breton Education Centre in New Waterford is providing more learning opportunities for students and preparing them for good jobs. As part of Kids and Learning First, Deputy Premier Frank Corbett today, Feb. 20, launched the school’s Transportation Trades 11 course. “Our plan is about getting the best results for every student by preparing them to create and compete for good jobs in the province,” said Mr. Corbett. “This program is allowing students to explore the trades in a hands-on, minds-on way and that is what good learning is all about.” The course, which introduces students to career options such as an automotive service technician and motorcycle mechanic, is available this month. The school also offers Skilled Trades 10 and Construction Trades 11 courses. “The skilled trades at BEC is one of the best courses I have taken,” said Grade 11 student Breanne Barry. “It is a useful course for anyone, especially if you are looking at a career in trades or want to build a home. The Skilled Trades 10 and Construction 11 courses are amazing and all students should try it out.” By the end of the school year, 263 Breton students will have considered the skilled trades as a career option since the courses were introduced in 2009. Under the education plan, the number of schools offering skilled trades will double over the next four years from nine to 18 and a new manufacturing course linked to shipbuilding will be introduced in September 2013. “Teaching the program has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my career, both as a teacher and as a trades person,” said Skilled Trades instructor Mike Morrison. “Every day I get to watch students develop valuable and practical skills in a setting that mimics the real world work environment. The excitement and pride students feel when they put their newly developed skills into practice on hands-on, functional projects is truly inspiring.” Transportation Trades 11 was designed by industry professionals and allows students to work on the same cars’ engines and equipment, with the same tools, used by professional automotive service technicians. The province has funded extensive renovations at skilled trade schools, fully equipped with tools and materials. Students are also provided appropriate personal protective equipment such as hard hats, safety glasses and safety shoes. “BEC has been the heart of the community since it opened in 1970 and, under this plan, the school will continue to provide students with the education and values to make life better for them and their families,” said Mr. Corbett. The multi-year education plan includes a $6.7-million investment in areas dealing with students first, effective teaching, preparation for good jobs and citizenship, and links between the school and community. For more information on Kids and Learning First, visit novascotia.ca/kidsandlearning .