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November 11, 2019 7:52 AM

TradeUcation welcomes school board representatives

Conestoga hosted its first TradeUcation event at the John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo on October 23 where teachers, guidance counsellors and administrators from more than 10 school boards took part in activities to gain better understanding of the skills and knowledge required in trades education and careers.

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TradeUcation welcomed teachers and guidance counsellors from local school boards on October 23. Guests toured Conestoga labs and met with faculty to learn more about the skilled trades so they are better prepared to answer student questions about possible career paths.

Tony Thoma, executive dean to the Schools of Engineering & Technology, Trades & Apprenticeship and the Institute of Food Processing Technology, welcomed the 60 participants and provided a snapshot of the skills gap currently facing the province.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, about 40 per cent of employers currently require employees with trades certification. The province also estimates that one in five new jobs in Ontario will be in trades-related occupations by 2021.

“With the growing demand for skilled trades workers, we launched this event to help provide teachers and guidance counsellors with useful information they can share with their students,” explained Joni Jean, chair, Engineering & Technology and Trades & Apprenticeship. “By connecting them directly to our faculty and providing hands-on activities in our labs, they are better prepared to support their own students.”

Following Thoma’s keynote, participants were invited into campus workshops to learn more about the range of trades and technology programming options available at Conestoga campuses. Through hand-on activities led by faculty in the areas of carpentry, culinary, electrical, plumbing, truck and coach and welding, school board representatives were able to inquire about the English and math skills required for success in various programs and careers, as well as learn more about the outcomes and pathway and career opportunities available to students upon completion of the programs.

“We were very pleased to host our local school boards,” added Jean. “Participants had a number of questions about programming and apprenticeships so we’re happy that TradeUcation provided a forum for this type of discussion and exchange of information.”

The event was hosted with support from The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Since 2018, the foundation has been supporting Conestoga students through a multi-year skilled trades scholarship program for students and apprentices entering their first year in the School of Trades & Apprenticeship. More than 65 students and close to 20 apprentices in a range of construction, industrial, and motive power sector programs will receive this award to support them with pursuing successful careers in the skilled 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 post-secondary 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 & Apprenticeship for more information.

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