Often, the best way of learning is by doing. If you dropped by St. Peter High School on May 3, you would have found students installing shingles, cutting pipes, laying floor tile, and hooking up electrical wiring. They weren’t building a house but learning what it’s like to work in construction and the wide selection of job opportunities in the sector.
The event was the brainchild of Scott Day, the lead teacher of St. Peter High School’s Construction Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program. To encourage enrolment in the Construction SHSM, he wanted to expose students to the skilled trades by giving them hands-on activities to try. Mr. Day and his team recruited representatives from 12 different trade organizations to instruct and supervise activities for the students. These included plumbers, HVAC workers, welders, electrical technicians, carpenters, framers, roofers, and iron workers. Many came from organizations that are already co-op partners with the high school.
Over 500 grade 9 and 10 students participated in the day. Students had a chance to use specialized power tools, assemble framing, try out a virtual welding station, attach girders to a steel I-beam, and solder copper piping. Four shifts of students even worked throughout the day to build a garden bench from scratch!
It wasn’t all hands-on learning. The students also had activity worksheets to complete, which required them to speak to many trades representatives and learn more about their jobs and the industry they represent.
In grades 7 and 8, students were invited to walk through the event and observe the activities. The government is introducing a mandatory technological education credit in 2024, so this was a chance for the younger students to see some real-world opportunities stemming from those tech courses.