Skilled trades are a viable career option

by Tammy Schneider


A program undertaken by Skills Ontario has its sights set on building Ontario’s skilled trades and technologies workforce, by introducing a variety of career choices to Ontario youth. This summer, approximately 400 Ontario students, in grades 7,8 and 9, will attend Skills Ontario summer camp, and learn firsthand that pursuing a career in the trades can allow them to follow their creative passions while earning a good living, and having reliable employment.


One such camp was held at the Bruce Technology Skills Training Centre (BTSTC), north of Tiverton, in July. More than one dozen kids spent the week attending workshops and participating in learning and instructive projects, such as building robots from Lego, and then programming them to perform tasks. The four workshops included multi-trade (learning how to operate a crane in a simulator was one of the skills taught), information technology, radiation safety and emergency and protective services. All workshops were taught by Bruce Power staff that volunteered their time, said volunteer facilitator and nuclear operator, Jelisa St. Peter.


Skills Ontario has partnered with schools, businesses, labour groups and colleges in an effort to reach out to students. In 2016-17, over 2,300 of such institutions were affiliated with Skills Ontario. Over 2,000 presentations were made in 1,400-plus school visits, reaching over 125,000 students in Ontario.


Besides introducing youth to the various career options, Skills Ontario also discusses the benefits of apprenticeship programs and courses that would be most helpful in assisting students to reach their career goals.


“Skilled trade and technology careers should be a first choice option,” said camp leader Kayla Schurman from Skills Ontario. “It’s fun to work with your hands, and you can make a great living doing this. This camp is the real deal.”