submitted by UCDSB
Five weeks, five school visits, and 270 students got a taste of what a career in the construction and electrical trades could look like through the St. Lawrence College (SLC) Mobile Training Labs.
Back for its second year with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), Grade 7 and 8 students from Athens District High School, Rideau District High School, Almonte District High School, Brockville Collegiate Institute, and North Grenville District High School experienced the two career pathways from May 16 to June 13, all while receiving a college micro-credential.
The full-day workshops focused on providing learning opportunities through in-person instruction, student-led practical work, and a variety of technology-driven learning opportunities that offered students a higher level of fundamental skill instruction that applies to the real-world setting. In the carpentry workshop, students worked in groups to turn a pile of wood into flower/planter boxes using carpentry equipment and plan drawings. For the electrical workshop, students learned electrical theory using custom-built electrical boards, learned about solar power and outfitted the flower/planter boxes with solar lights.
“The enthusiasm students have expressed as they explore careers in the skilled trades has been truly remarkable,” says Lauren Levac, UCDSB Student Success Learning Partner and lead on this initiative. “Throughout this journey, we have heard from numerous students who have shared a newfound interest in pursuing careers in carpentry and electrical work. It’s inspiring to witness their passion and curiosity. Students have shown tremendous interest in learning about UCDSB’s Specialist High Skills Majors, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, and Dual Credit programming, which play a vital role in supporting their career aspirations when they enter secondary school.”
North Grenville District High School Grade 7 student Breanna Taylor took part in the electrical workshop and said her favourite part of the day was working with electrical boards. “Hands-on learning gives your brain something to focus on and I think that you learn more because of it,” she added.
For Grade 7 Brockville Collegiate Institute student Damon Edwards, the electrical workshop solidified his career pathway. “I am learning about the skilled trades and how to get into it as a career. I have had an interest in being an electrician for a while now and this is the first time I’ve ever done something with it. This experience makes me want to do this as a career even more,” says Edwards.
When it came to the carpentry workshops at Almonte District High School, they were modified to fit a real-world learning project that students have been working on. The project is building snack carts for their local long-term care home, Orchard View by the Mississippi. With the support of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and SLC Mobile Training Labs, students learned basic construction skills that helped to turn their snack cart concept into a reality.
Almonte District High School Grade 8 student Jadyn Hummel says it has been a great experience and that she really enjoyed the carpentry workshop as she likes building stuff out of wood.
“I’ve learned a lot including how to drill on an angle and use other machinery properly. It’s fun and you get to do a lot of hands-on stuff during class,” she says.
Classmate Walter Murphy agrees and adds that building the snack carts for Orchard View has been a rewarding experience and he’s learned a lot, “We’re also learning how to properly build the snack carts, how to use the tools necessary for the project. My favourite part of this is definitely using the nail gun. It’s cool and fun!”
The planter boxes that students constructed will be donated and auctioned off at the UCDSB’s Champions for Kids annual charity golf tournament next month.