Manitoba’s Education and Training Minister, Ian Wishart, announced that the province would commit $347,453 to Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School’s collision program. The school’s principal is Chad Cobbe (right). Photo by the Brandon Sun.

Brandon, Manitoba -- February 22, 2017 -- One Manitoba high school received a big boost to its autobody program recently. Manitoba’s Education Minister, Ian Wishart, has announced a total $1.5 million in funding for skills training in Manitoba schools.

The collision repair program at Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School in Brandon will get almost a quarter of the total budget. The $347,453 will be used to install a brand new paint booth in Crocus Plains’ body shop.

“We’re very grateful to the Manitoba government for this investment in the collision repair program at Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School,” said Kevan Sumner, board chair, Brandon School Division. “This investment will allow this popular program to install a modern paint booth to ensure students can continue to gain experience on up-to-date equipment that prepares them to enter the workforce with employable skills following graduation.”

Wishart also noted the funding ensures programming is relevant to current and future labour market needs, and particular emphasis is placed on supporting high school level programs to become accredited by Apprenticeship Manitoba.

"The equipment we’re using now is 30 years old. It’s outdated, it’s getting harder to maintain … if the current equipment went down, with that kind of cost I don’t know if the school division would have been able to keep us going," collision repair instructor Carl DeCosse said, according to a report in the Brandon Sun. "With this upgrade, it’s a sense of security. The biggest thing here is sustainability for the program as a whole. We’ve seen an increase in enrolment over the last few years and I think this will further that."

The investment is part of the Skills Strategy Equipment Enhancement Fund, which provides targeted funding to ensure Manitoba’s students have access to up-to-date equipment.  

"This is new technology … the equipment (at Crocus Plains) is really old and we need to train the kids on the new stuff, so this would be a fairly high priority because of that alone," Wishart said according the Brandon Sun.

Wishart also noted that Manitoba’s education system is not just for those living in urban areas. Rural schools also need up-to-date technology to ensure students are receiving an adequate education. A large portion of the funding will go towards trades and skill training.   

"It’s the first time in Manitoba’s history that we’ve actually had the education system aligned with the trades and training —and we’re already finding examples like this where it works way better," Wishart said, according to the Brandon Sun. "I think that there’s great potential to do more of that in the future."

 

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