Nearly 200 people, many of them local high school students, took part in the first day of hands-on skilled trades workshops at Georgian’s Robbert Hartog Midland Campus today. Midland’s three-day Skilled Trades Expo offers potential students the chance to try two trades ranging from electrical to welding.
“I came to this event last year and the experience was awesome, so I figured I’d try two different trades today,” says Brandon Shaw, a Grade 12 student at Bradford District High School.
“Right now I’m learning about marine engines – so far, it’s cool,” he explains as he examines a large motor in action. “I’ve always been into engines.”
Students like Brandon got to choose from a record 12 workshops this year, more than the event has offered ever before.
Adult learner Theresa Parent appreciated the opportunity to practise small engine maintenance and repair.
“I’m considering a career in the trades and thought it would be great to try them,” she explains. “Working on this chainsaw is fun! Plus it’s a new experience.”
Organizers are thrilled with the event so far. Georgian staff expect another 400 people to walk through the campus’ doors over Wednesday and Thursday.
“After months of preparation, it’s great to see this event come together successfully,” says Phil Le Boeuf, instructor and Manager of Part-time Studies at the Midland Campus. “This expo is about drawing people to the skilled trades, so I love seeing how excited and motivated participants are.”
Students from 32 secondary schools across Simcoe and Muskoka gathered for a welcome assembly in the morning, before going to their first training session. The final day is set aside for Grade 8 girls.
“Colleges Ontario predicts that in 2020 there will be a serious shortage of skilled trades workers,” said Campus Principal Mac Greaves. “We’re showcasing the training Georgian College offers to meet labour demands for tomorrow’s Ontario.”