The concept for Trades 4 Life and the initial Belize Pilot Project came from the vision of two men developed over many years and thousands of miles apart. But the needs they identified and ideas for addressing them were so similar they could have been developed in the same room.
The profound need for skilled tradesmen in economies around the world is well documented. Developed countries are seeing the shift towards an education that is more academic in its approach and leaves many young people without adequate exposure to trades opportunities. Where trades programs do exist, they are often very limited in their scope, focusing primarily on the skills of the trade and very little on the character and life skills required to excel.
Technical skills alone do not develop successful people. Many other life skills are required to connect a trade to a successful opportunity. As our societies struggle to develop stable opportunities for young people, we see the need for them to learn how to develop the skills required in life to be leaders in what they do, rather than wait for someone else to create the opportunities for them. This requires addressing the many things that are not formally taught in most educational systems, such as principles of personal finance, principles of both family and work relationships, principles of self discipline, and understanding principles of morals and ethics in everyday life.
Many of the skills required for life and leadership are not taught because of the absence of a moral compass - some standard for right and wrong and why it matters. The world around us is increasingly secular and many young people grow up without ever hearing about the role of faith in every day life. By relying on the Bible as God's instruction to our everyday lives, we find truths and principles of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that brings purpose and meaning to every day. This is not a Bible school. But we understand that by relying on the Bible as a textbook, we can find the principles that will give young people lives of purpose as they serve their families and communities in the trades of their choice.
This school has been developed for young men to be taught by older men, so they can live purposeful lives supporting others. These young men will develop relationships with Godly, skilled tradesmen who will be available as role models and mentors both during the education process and afterwards, as they go and make their way in life. These ongoing relationships are meant to offer support and accountability in their trade, business activities, and their relationships with others.