St. Marys DCVI has officially started the Construction Specialized High Skills Major (SHSM) with a special day for the school, students and community. On February 28th, the students enrolled in the SHSM participated in Electrical Safety training.
In addition to the electrical training, the program was supported by local construction employers who spoke with the students about the industry and the skills that they need to develop in high school in order to succeed in the Construction industry.
Mike Johnson, owner of Easy LiftDoors, impressed upon the students the importance of job preparedness such as punctuality, attendance and attitude. He said “The most important thing for an employer is to have employees that they can depend on and to represent the company in a professional way”. Brett Bickell of Bickell Built Homes spoke to the need for skilled workers throughout the industry. The students also heard from Scott Schiedel of McLean Taylor who spoke about the vast opportunities available to them locally in the Construction sector from residential to agricultural to industrial. The importance of cooperative education, which is a component of the SHSM program was impressed upon them by Andy Forman, of Forman Electric, who spoke about his experience as a co-op student while at DCVI and how it allowed him a chance to explore a field and to gain valuable transferable skills.
Pathways Support Teacher Monica Ryan and SHSM sector lead Brian Chalupka have been working together to create a program at DCVI where students are learning about various Construction related skills. Funding through the Specialist High Skills Major program has Chalupka making plans to expand the Construction program to include residential construction skills, electrical components, plumbing and masonry. Chalupka, who is a licensed electrician knows the importance of the trades. “With the average age of the skilled worker in Ontario at around 53, we really need to attract young people into the field. My goal is to give the students a small taste of as many trades as possible, that are involved in residential construction. My hope is that students might be inspired and want to pursue one of the trades as a viable career option.” Chalupka said.
Ryan says that this program has allowed a significant number of DCVI students the opportunity to develop trade-related skills and an understanding of the variety of careers available, but also a chance to develop personal skills. This training will be followed up with leadership and project management skills training on March 25th by the Beanstalk Project.
Students who are enrolled in the SHSM will be focusing their studies to support a career in the Construction sector in one of the four pathways: University, College, Apprenticeship and Workplace. Students will complete Standard First Aid with Level C CPR, Working at Heights training, and basic health and safety, including W.H.M.I.S. They will also be part of various elective certifications that can support work related skills. They will participate in a reach ahead activity that could include a visit to a college or a university as well as an experiential opportunity that will support their learning by acquiring additional transferable skills that can be used once they enter the workforce. The final component of the SHSM will have the students working with a community partner in order to learn more about mathematical literacy or coding in relation to the Construction sector or an Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) challenge where students will use inquiry skills to solve a problem.
Avon Maitland’s SHSM board lead Jodi Froud said “students who graduate with the SHSM seal will be more focused and prepared to pursue the pathway that they are interested in, whether that be university, college, workplace or apprenticeship. The enhancements to their studies, the experiential learning opportunities and the connections they are making with community partners will give them an edge upon graduation.”
Any employers that are interested in learning more about the SHSM or would like to be involved in the program are encouraged to contact Monica Ryan at the school.