Grade 6 student Skyla Golbey said she was most looking forward to the big race on Friday following the Okanagan College Girls Can Go-Kart Too! camp. (Submitted)

Girls’ go-kart camp at Okanagan College introduces 14 to trades

Young girls try hand at building engines, karts under guidance of skilled trades people in Kelowna

Fourteen girls got their hands dirty at Okanagan College’s go-kart camp for girls.

The Girls Can Go-Kart Too! is a camp offering girls in grades 4 through 6 the opportunity to try their hand at designing and constructing their own go-kart.

And on Friday they went head-to-head in a friendly race around the Kelowna campus.

“This camp is a great opportunity for young women to learn and directly apply useful skills in a fun environment,” Industry Training Authority CEO Shelley Gray said.

The camp was started in 2018 in partnership with the college and the ITA.

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“It’s a hugely enjoyable program for the young women, who we hope will become the skilled trades people of the future.”

Led by Okanagan College Red Seal endorsed trades instructors, the campers tried their hand working on small engines, changing oil, patching and replacing tires, testing and fixing breaks and installing ignition kill switches.

“Last year, I saw the girls racing the go-karts in the parking lot and it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided to try it this year,” Grade 6 student Skyla Golbey said.

“I haven’t built one before, but my uncle builds cars so I’ve been around them a lot,” she said. “We’ve been learning about all the tools and how an engine works.”

Plus, she said, having the knowledge to change a tire will be useful when she gets her driver’s licence.

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Not only is this camp a great way for girls to dip their toes in basic mechanics, but it’s a great way to form connections that may lead to careers in the trades—something British Columbia is in need of.

The BC Construction Association’s Building Code set a target of 10 per cent of skilled trades jobs be held by women in 2028. To meet that goal, another 9,500 women would have to be onboarded.

“This camp is a great opportunity for young girls to experience what the skilled trades are all about,” Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton said. “It’s great to see how excited they are to get into the shop. We hope their experience at the college sparks an interest that leads them to think about the many career possibilities open to them.”

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