Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and SLC Mobile Training Labs Initiative
The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and Experiential Learning, has made significant changes to the delivery mode of some of its programs as a result of COVID‑19 restrictions. The change to online or virtual has created many exciting new opportunities for these programs.
The goal of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program has been to promote skilled trades as a viable and attractive alternative to traditional post‑secondary programs. OYAP participation numbers in our schools have risen. More students are choosing this pathway and will receive the benefits associated with early registration such as apprentices and education placements. One of the Program’s main objectives for 2020‑2021 was to create and foster a social media presence.
At a recent Board meeting, Superintendent of School Effectiveness, Natalie Cameron, introduced Liz McCormick, Experiential Learning Consultant, and Dan Lortie, OYAP Coordinator.
“This team joins us tonight to highlight the work that they do, and how these programs and the emerging educational and professional partnerships are helping students to reach their full learning potential,” began Superintendent Cameron.
In September and October of this year, five CDSBEO secondary schools took part in an exciting pilot project created by partners at St. Lawrence College. SLC created two mobile labs (tech trailers) that were booked for a week at a time at CDSBEO secondary schools. Over 170 students had the opportunity to earn micro‑credentials related to welding and carpentry.
“Last spring, we were approached by St. Lawrence College. They hosted a meeting with representatives from the Eastern Ontario Training Board, employment centres and school boards to let us know about the mobile labs initiative. We were very pleased when they reached out to us asking if we could be their partner for their pilot on this project,” explained Liz McCormick.
The tech trailer activities included a combination of virtual reality simulations and hands‑on activities and were led by two facilitators from St. Lawrence College, as well as an SLC Welding instructor and an SLC Carpentry instructor. Students used a welding simulator to try their hand at stick and MIG welding, and they were also given the opportunity to complete a live weld. In the construction component, participants completed a chair building project and were able to take the finished projects home. During the tech trailer visits, students were also given the opportunity to take part in a timed tire‑change challenge, as well as to experience exploring the skilled trades in virtual reality.
“Students love it, they loved the hands‑on experience, and were very proud of the work that they had completed. The VR simulations offered a lot of problem solving and troubleshooting opportunities.”
“A new initiative for this year, the Municipality of North Grenville was successful in receiving delivery status for the commercial vehicle technician program, being housed out of the former Kemptville College,” noted Dan Lortie. “We have four students in that program now, with a total of 20 including partner boards, and proposals from the Municipality have been submitted to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and they are hoping to offer level two and level three in the farm equipment, heaving equipment and the trucking coach programs, which bodes well for the future.”
“We are happy to announce that the SKLZ competition is also back on for this year. We have chosen May 17th as the date, to take place at St. Lawrence College. We’ve limited the number of events, just to keep the crowds down, and we’ve rented a 40 by 100‑foot tent where some events will be happening outside,” he continued.