$1M donation provides support for B.C.’s Red Seal students

The program is intended to boost completion rates in B.C., which sit at below 41 per cent.

Key Takeaways:

  • Coast Capital’s donation will create the Road to Red Seal Program.
  • The program provides individualized assessment and support to Red Seal students in B.C.
  • Officials say one-on-one support can be critical to give students the tools and confidence they need to pass exams.

The Whole Story:

Failing a Red Seal exam can be devastating. 

But it’s a common reality in Canada. Completion rates for Red Seal trades are on average below 50 per cent nationally and below 41 per cent in B.C. Often, the decision to quit a program is a direct result of educational barriers that face many trade students related to the academic portion of their training.  

“Imagine what that does to an apprentice when they fail,” said Michelle Anderlini, Construction Foundation of B.C. project manager. “All of a sudden you have no self esteem, you’re nervous, you’re scared to get back and write that exam.”

Anderlini has worked with countless students during her career. She explained that many who enter the trades do so because they excel at working with their hands, but are often dismayed at the thought of going back to school.  

“A lot of the challenges that apprentices face is the educational background they came from,” she said. “They do well working with their hands. So for the most part, the way they learn is very visual and kinaesthetic. So when they get into the trades, it’s very scary for them to go back to school.”

To support trades students in B.C., Coast Capital has made a one-million-dollar investment that will fund a new, no-fee, educational support program, Coast Capital Road to Red Seal. The program focuses on addressing educational barriers faced by many trade students.

The initiative offers a suite of tools and one-on-one support directly to students to address their specific challenges and support their continued progression in their program.

Anderlini said that student needs are often unique to them so one-on-one support is especially crucial. This is also helpful for those who are too shy to ask for help in a group setting. Whatever a student’s issues may be, Anderlini said that these kind of supports all provide a crucial ingredient for success: hope.

“It’s about building hope. It’s about building self confidence that they have got it,” she said.

Anderlini is currently working with a trades student who failed his exam eight years ago and hasn’t been back since. 

“He is scared to go back but he wants to start his own business,” she said. “So it’s about talking with them, and encouraging them. Telling them that they got this. Giving them all the tools they need so they go write the test and nail it.”  

Officials with Coast Capital explained that they believe supporting trades students is the right thing to do for B.C. 

“As a federal financial cooperative and social purpose organization, Coast Capital is committed to helping create a better, more equitable, financial future for everyone,” says Maureen Young, vice president of social purpose at coast capital. “With this initiative, we are so proud to be able to contribute to and advocate for a community where everyone has the skills and opportunities to thrive. Coast Capital’s Road to Red Seal initiative, broadens and personalizes the tools accessible to trade students to empower them in completing their certification so they can confidently enter the industry, grow their careers and shape their better future.”


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