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Niche high school programs taking off – Regina

REGINA – Measure twice, cut once. The old adage is still carefully followed as high school students get a taste of the trades.

Traditional classroom lessons are being used at Campus Regina Public to build things like heating ducts.

“It doesn’t really feel like math because you’re building something while you do it,” said Macy Wilson, a grade 11 student. “It’s kind of like we’re doing math, but we’re not doing math.”

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Wilson is one of 900 students in the program, which offers 22 different courses ranging from plumbing to culinary arts.

From a new military training program for high school students announced Tuesday to Regina’s first sports academy launching this week, there’s more specialty education programming than ever in the city – changing the ways our kids are learning every school year.

“Students were telling us, ‘We’re dying at our desks, we need different approaches, we need our high school education relevant for us,’ ” said Greg Enion, Regina Public Schools’ deputy director of student achievement. “That led us over the last five years of developing this program.”

Enrolment has doubled over the last year alone, with a student achievement rate as high as 92 per cent.

Long term, the program is considered an intermediate step to post-secondary education in a province where skilled trades are in high demand.

“At the end of the day, what we’re all about is promoting employability,” said Jason Marchtaler, a plumbing and heating instructor. “I want to give them a taste of as many different trades as I can.”

The program aims to keep students focused today, while mapping out a career for the future.

“It feels more exciting and encouraging if you know what you want to do at a young age,” Wilson said.