submitted by UCDSB
Over the past two months, Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) students gained hands-on experience in the construction sector and its related trades in the Habitat for Humanity Build Days program, while also giving back to their local community. Habitat for Humanity Build Days bring together a group of up to 20 students aged 16 and older to the building site in Kemptville. Divided into groups, students are immersed in the construction process, from cutting and assembling stud walls to constructing insulated concrete form (ICF) walls.
“This pilot experience was a perfect fit for our students to get exposure to the construction sector and its related trades,” says Andy Carruthers, UCDSB Learning Partner. “By participating in the build days, our students not only acquire valuable construction skills, but they also get a real-world look at what carpentry and other skilled trades entail.”
The program was open to UCDSB schools within a 30-minute commute to the build site, ensuring accessibility and minimizing transportation challenges. Six schools embraced the opportunity this year: North Grenville District High School, South Grenville District High School, Smiths Falls District Institute, Seaway District High School, and Brockville Collegiate Institute.
The benefits of this program extend beyond the classroom. Habitat for Humanity provides affordable housing solutions for working families who face challenges with affordability, overcrowding and safety. By offering affordable homes through the ownership program, families can build equity while residing in a suitable and affordable living space.
In addition to the practical construction skills acquired by the students, the program provides exposure to the industry and the potential career paths in the skilled trades. As they engage in tasks such as installing walls, bending and installing rebar, interior framing and window preps, students gain first-hand knowledge and a realistic understanding of the various aspects of carpentry and other skilled trades.
Due to the positive feedback received from teachers and students, the UCDSB is actively exploring opportunities to expand the Habitat for Humanity Build Days program. Plans are underway to involve more schools and students in the future, building upon the success of the pilot program conducted this year.
Habitat for Humanity Greater Ottawa is building 15 homes in Kemptville in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Thousand Islands. For more information, please visit habitatgo.ca.