Locally Operated Careers and Trades Training coming to the Cowichan Valley School District


New programming aims to help students find success in the skilled trades world

At the September 5th Closed Board Meeting of the Cowichan Valley School District Board of Education, the Board passed a motion to create the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades. This new program aims to provide equitable access to life-changing career opportunities for local Cowichan students. Programming for the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades will include:

  • Foundations of Welding
  • Foundations of Carpentry
  • Foundations of Hairdressing

Programming through the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades will be provided in consultation with SkilledTradesBC, the Ministry of Education and Child Care and other educational partners.

“As the primary provider of education services to Cowichan Valley youth, we recognize we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure equitable access to exceptional learning opportunities for every student. Creating the Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades will provide this access to any student no matter their situation. It is opportunities like this that truly change lives and drive community well-being,” said Cathy Schmidt, Chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District.

The Cowichan Valley School District Careers and Trades is scheduled to open to all Cowichan Valley youth in grades 11 and 12 starting in the 2024/25 school year with the possibility of adding first year graduated students and tuition paying adults in the future.


“As a steel manufacturing company situated in the Cowichan Valley, we are no different from any other franchise suffering a serious shortage of experienced labour in the market. Pacific Industrial Marine supports Cowichan Valley School District’s decision to provide welding training locally for our community.  There is a continual need for trades people in the Valley and we applaud the district for having the foresight to ensure a strong future for the Cowichan Valley.” – Glen Major, Superintendent of Steel Operations, Pacific Industrial & Marine Ltd.


“As a long-time Valley employer, Promac is pleased to support and congratulate the Cowichan Valley School District in this bold and progressive venture in Welding training.  Skilled Trades continue to be a workforce challenge for employers.  Promac continues to support and appreciates the Cowichan Valley School District in developing skilled trades locally, such as Welder, Machinist and Fabricator.  Developing the local candidates to support our local businesses.” – Mike Williams, CPHR, Human Resources Leader, Promac Manufacturing


“Pacific Energy Fireplaces has been a supporter of the Cowichan Valley School District’s Dual Credit certificate program for the skilled trades since the beginning.  This program has provided many skilled welders and other trades students with excellent career opportunities at Pacific Energy. The Cowichan Valley School District’s program is paramount to showing students what opportunities exist now and into the future and guiding them into a successful career path in these highly in-demand fields.” – Reo Phillips, President, Pacific Energy Fireplaces.


“The demand for welders in the Cowichan Valley is unprecedented with a substantial rate of growth. We need to utilize our resources locally to invest in our community.” – Asha Gray, Production Coordinator, Profab Manufacturing Ltd.