May 13, 2022 – Approximately 150 students from South Grenville District High School are getting the opportunity to weld, use power tools, build circuits, and learn how to challenge and fuel their bodies in new and healthy ways.
These hands-on and real-world activities are part of the UCDSB Specialist High Skills Major Program and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program initiative to bring the St. Lawrence College Mobile Skills Training Labs to 11 secondary schools across our district, one week at a time, from April 4 until June 17.
The majority of the students taking part this week are in Grades 7-9 and were selected to participate based on the interests they have shown in class in various areas. Thirty-two students per day go through one of six two-and-a-half hour workshops, which are hosted by an instructor or trainer from St. Lawrence College. The choice of workshops are: carpentry, welding, electrical, fitness, nutrition and culinary.
Grade 7 student Tucker Kirkby was impressed by the knowledge the instructors had and what can be done with welding. “You can learn to build a lot of different things with welding. It’s crazy that you can do all this with just a twig and a few generators,” he said. “I am ready to learn a lot more about welding. There is a lot to learn about!”
Although sessions are longer than a typical class would be, students are engaged. Gwen Emmell and Jocelyn Sanger, both Grade 9 students and athletes, are already thinking about how to apply what they have learned in the fitness workshops to their regular activities.
“We both play sports, so this workshop was good for us,” says Gwen. “We are learning about how our bodies work and how to keep it healthy…and about what we should do before, during and after sports so that we don’t get injured.”
“Students are getting opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise get in a classroom setting at this age—especially when it comes to welding and carpentry. They are getting to experience real-world learning and make the link between what they are doing at school and the careers that are out there,” explains Real World Learning Partner Evan Barr, who has been highly involved in this mobile trailer project.
These real-world learning opportunities are grabbing the attention of community and industry members, too. This week, members of Council from the Town of Prescott, along with Martyn Beckett, School College Work Initiative (SCWI) liaison officer visited the site as well.
“Students are able to learn more about these trades and industries and it’s really getting them to think about courses they may want to take in high school, and opportunities they may have beyond that,” added Lauren Levac, Student Success Learning Partner, and co-lead on this initiative. “We are thrilled with the amount of student engagement and community support we have received as the SLC Mobile Labs travel throughout our school district. The schools have done a great job at generating interest among students, including those who are generally under-represented in the skilled trades, with an opportunity to participate.”
The trailers will move to Seaway District High School for the week of May 16 – May 20.