first_imgClose to 100 students are getting a chance to explore careers in skilled trades this summer. TestDrive and Building Futures for Youth allow students to earn high school co-op credits and hours towards apprenticeship certification in the automotive service and construction trades. Caleb Erskine, a youth apprentice working part-time with Atlantic Acura, got his start through the TestDrive program. “I worked here last summer under the TestDrive program and it was a total game-changer,” said Caleb. “I’d never considered a career in the automotive trades before and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’m continuing to work and learn in the trade and can’t wait to see how far it takes me.” Premier Stephen McNeil and Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan were joined by Caleb, automotive and construction sector partners, and industry, apprenticeship board, school board and NSCC representatives at an event today in Halifax. “Jobs are what will keep our young people here in the province,” said Premier McNeil. “Programs like these help employers help students take advantage of the opportunities in Nova Scotia.” The TestDrive and Building Futures for Youth programs, supported by the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency and the Department of Education and Education and Early Childhood Development, have provided more than 500 students with paid summer employment and hands-on trades experience. July marks the one-year anniversary of the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. In its first year, the agency has signed on more than 180 new employers, and registered more than 1,350 new apprentices and 100 youth apprentices. Research has shown that more than 70 per cent of youth apprentices go on to full-time apprenticeship training.last_img