A group of 36 female students in grades seven to 10 had the opportunity to meet and work alongside contractor Sherry Holmes at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus on March 7. The event was the first of Conestoga’s three Trades and Technology (TNT) Days for young women which deliver hands-on activities related to different careers in the construction, industrial, motive power, engineering and architectural industries. The event is presented in partnership with the School College Work Initiative to give students a chance to explore career choices.
Contractor Sherry Holmes joined female students in grades seven to 10 at the Waterloo campus on March 7 for Trades and Technology Day. The event helps young women explore potential careers in the trades.
“What you get to do today is amazing,” said Holmes in her opening address to students. “I wish I had that opportunity in school just to try something without knowing if it was what I wanted to do. If you stay open-minded and you’re excited, you might find something you’re really great at. Don’t be afraid to ask questions - you have so many people you can reach out to for advice and guidance. Just go for it and have fun.”
Holmes started her trades career ten years ago when she joined her father, contractor Mike Holmes -- star of Holmes Makes it Right and Holmes on Homes -- in New Orleans to work on construction projects following Hurricane Katrina.
“I decided to go and try my hardest, admit I didn’t know everything, and see how it goes from there. I framed a house, I built a house, I plastered, I put in windows, I hung drywall, I insulated, I tiled. I loved it and I haven’t looked back since,” explained Holmes on her journey into the trades.
Students were invited to participate in two hands-on workshops in carpentry and plumbing where they practised basic skills and techniques under the guidance and mentorship of faculty, students and industry partners. Students in Conestoga’s Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) program volunteered to work with the students, and mentors from Freshco also attended.
Freshco is a boutique, trend-setting construction and maintenance firm that has partnered with the college to support WIST students through subsidies and mentorship opportunities.
Other TNT events will be held at the Cambridge campus on March 8 where students will participate in workshops related to electrical energy and architecture, and the final session will be held April 30 at Conestoga’s Guelph campus where students will have an introduction to the motive power trades.
Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and our growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of postsecondary trades programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.
Visit the School of Trades and Apprenticeship for more information.