On March 20, students in Conestoga’s Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades program hosted an industry evening titled From Idea to Object: A Panel Discussion about Contemporary Woodworking.
A panel discussion hosted by Weston Family Scholars connected Conestoga students in complementary programs. L-R: Moderator Paul Crombie, Sarah Rose Woods and Lars Dressler.
Held at the Doon campus, the event was spearheaded by Paul Crombie -- a first-year Woodworking Technician student and recipient of the scholarship -- and aimed to bring together students studying woodworking, interior design and architecture to explore the parallels between the programs, meet employers and learn how the three industries collaborate in the working world.
“We’re all here because we have a shared interest in making things,” said Crombie. From idea to object, he explained, is thinking about how to take design projects and goals and turn them into reality, whether that be a piece of furniture or starting a business.
Woods, an industrial designer making furniture, objects and jewelry in the Greater Toronto Area, offered advice to students thinking about starting a business, stressing the importance of continuous learning. “There’s so many things to learn,” said Woods. “There’s no limit to the amount of things you need to know to prepare yourself to start a business or start making money.” She encouraged students to not get discouraged, “the first project you do will always be the most challenging. It will only ever get easier.”
Also offering advice, Dressler, who co-founded a furniture design and manufacturing company in Toronto with his brother, told students to leverage social media to help build and share their portfolio. “We’re in an amazing time of communication,” said Dressler, “where you can make a few things, shoot them from the right angle and start to build a following on Instagram.”
Dressler also suggested that the three industries represented at the event collaborate as a way to build business. “There’s so many choices out there,” said Dressler speaking as a maker, “partner with designers and architects who have clients.”
After the panel discussion, students were provided an opportunity to network with each other to make connections and learn more about the similarities in their methods of design.
Launched in 2018, the Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades at Conestoga has been structured to support students throughout the completion of their programs. Recipients receive up to $4,000 from the scholarship program in addition to tuition awards from the college each academic year to assist with tuition costs.
Weston Family Scholars serve as ambassadors at trades-related co-curricular activities and participate in mentorship initiatives in the community. Since the launch of the scholarship program, Conestoga’s team of Weston Family Scholars has grown to include more than 50 students across a range of construction, industrial and motive power sector programs.