March 1, 2023
ADSB Introduces Students to the Skilled Trades in New, Innovative Ways
The Algoma District School Board (ADSB) has developed an overall plan to support elementary students as they begin thinking about and planning for their unique pathway in high school. One component of this plan is a new trades trailer, outfitted for elementary and intermediate students to provide hands-on experiences and exposure to the skilled trades. This mobile tech classroom has been designed to assist in trades pathway programming and promotion, to raise awareness about the skilled trades and to help boost curiosity for students at the elementary school level.
In turn, it is expected that this early introduction to the trades, will generate interest for students who may wish to explore tech classes and learn more about programs offered in high school including Co-operative Education, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and ADSB’s Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) which reflect a variety of sectors. By supporting students in identifying their personal interests, strengths, needs and aspirations, they can be better informed as they choose programs and learning opportunities in high school.
To support the trades trailer and the overall pathways initiative, ADSB developed a new Trades Pathway Coach position. Mike Hicks came on board last summer to fill this position, bringing a vast range of knowledge and expertise to the role having enjoyed a 35 year career as a red seal certified machinist, red seal certified millwright and an AME – Aviation Maintenance Engineer. In his capacity as Trades Pathway Coach, Mike has collaborated with ADSB’s senior administration, the pathways program team and teachers as well as community and industry partners to develop the trades trailer and to create engaging trades experiences, programs, and events to support experiential learning opportunities and student success.
The ADSB’s trades trailer is outfitted with six movable and individual workstations, each
equipped with a complete set of tools. The trailer also features a cross-section of equipment and tools that are used in manufacturing, carpentry, construction and soldering providing elementary and intermediate students opportunities to try their hand at a variety of tasks while increasing their understanding of various trades sectors. Students will learn skills required for particular industries and will be instructed how to use equipment and tools properly and safely.
Over the course of a school year, the trailer will travel to ADSB elementary and intermediate schools throughout the district. Classes will have an opportunity to work with and become more familiar with the equipment and tools. Students and staff, in collaboration with the Trades Pathway Coach, will work on a project that compliments learning they are already doing in math, science or the arts. Access to the trailer will enhance elementary curriculum in many of these areas and will provide classes unique opportunities for collaborative learning. In some cases, a class may decide to design and build a legacy project that will stay at the school, such as a bench or outdoor garden.
Algoma District School Board was pleased to showcase the trades trailer at a local Skills Ontario competition being held at The Moose Lodge in Sault Ste Marie on Wednesday, March 1st. The trailer was set up so that community partners, students and organizers of the event can tour through and see how the unit is equipped and how it has been designed to support and encourage students in their exploration of skilled trades. ADSB Board of Trustees were also given a tour of the trailer prior to the February 28 Regular Board Meeting. The Skills Ontario event on March 1st is the local competition in Construction, for Individual Carpentry. Students from the White Pines House Building program and a Superior Heights construction student will be taking part in the Individual Carpentry competition, with the task of building a doghouse in a 6-hour time frame. Materials have been donated by Soo Mill and completed projects will be judged by representatives from SalDan Construction. The winners of the local competition will qualify for entry to the Regionals in North Bay.
ADSB will be sending approximately 40 students to the Skills Ontario Provincial competition in Toronto from May 1st to 3rd, with final numbers confirmed over the next several weeks as students compete in the local event and regional qualifying event in North Bay on March 31st.