Conestoga news

March 16, 2011 10:34 AM

Students Working to Build a Better Community

Students in Conestoga’s Renovation Technician diploma program spend two years building all the skills that they need for successful careers in the residential and light commercial construction sector. This week, they’re also learning the rewards of giving back to the community as they apply their skills through renovation projects at the Sunbeam Residential Development Centre and RARE.

Initiated in 2007, Conestoga’s Center for Construction Trades Outreach Program (CCTOP) provides labour at no cost for qualifying organizations in this annual program. Some materials are donated by local businesses, and the student work is supervised by Conestoga faculty members. Non-profit agencies are invited to apply for the program in May of each year, and the students help to determine which projects they will take on.

“The project is a highlight of the program for our students,” said Doug Lockston, carpentry professor in the School of Trades and Apprenticeship. “As well as the practical experience they gain, it also allows them to give something back to the local community. We are tremendously grateful to our sponsors for helping to make this project possible.”

This year, the group has taken on two construction projects:

  • A group of twenty students have been working for the Sunbeam Residential Development Centre, tearing out old flooring and replacing it with new laminate and trim at two of Sunbeam’s residential homes in Kitchener.
  • Forty students are involved in a renovation project at RARE, a charitable research reserve in Cambridge dedicated to the preservation of a land reserve along the Grand and Speed Rivers. The students are working to renovate an 1840 stone farm house, removing old plaster and putting up drywall, replacing windows, reconstructing an old porch, and reinforcing the existing roof.

Sponsors for this year’s program include Swanson Home Hardware, Strassburger Windows & Doors, Pioneer Craftsmen, Schnarr Craftsmen and the Stone Place.

Past project recipients include the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, Lisaard House, Parents for Community Living, Pride Stables and the Salvation Army’s Dream Centre to name a few.

Note to media: Students will be working on-site at the RARE location until Friday, March 18. To arrange interviews or photo opportunities, please contact Doug Lockston at 519-885-0300, ext 5564 or . For all other media inquiries, contact Brenda Cassidy, Corporate Communications Manager, 519-748-5220 ext 3336 or

Students Working to Build a Better Community