On Friday, Dec. 3, approximately 900 Grade 7 and Grade 8 students from schools in the eastern region of the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) took part in a skilled trades exploration activity.
The afternoon event, hosted by the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), began with a presentation by Sociologist and Skilled Trades Speaker, Jon Callegher, called “The Skilled Trades and YOU.”
The presentation focused on the high rates of job satisfaction that tradespeople express, including being engaged and invigorated by their work, and confidence in skills security. The session also featured an interactive segment that helped students see how their interests can align with a possible career in the trades.
Following the presentation, Grade 7 students were then challenged to work in small groups to create a wind turbine that would generate the highest voltage while learning about the powerline technician trade. Students began with the planning stages of this project after the event and will continue to work on it over the coming weeks at school.
Grade 8 classes had a choice of a hands‑on kit related to a skilled trade, including crane operator, automotive service technician, and carpenter. The kits included a rubber band racecar, foam board picnic table, hydraulic crane, and wooden cabin.
While these students are far from needing to make lasting decisions about their careers, introducing students to skilled trades options, especially young women, is important because it brings to light the vast options available within the skilled trades and the benefits that these careers can have.
“These workshops get students thinking about how to maximize their high school time when planning for their future pathways. Skilled trades offer well‑paying, fulfilling jobs with the potential for advancement,” says organizer Ashley Grant, Student Success Learning Partner with the UCDSB. “We want our students to be aware of these opportunities when considering post‑secondary options and we can do that through experiential learning activities.”