Young Apprentices in the Making

Grade 8 students at Ecole Elsie MacGill Public School learned to use power tools, measure building materials, and follow strict safety rules today while constructing picnic tables from scratch. Sam, an enthusiastic apprentice in the making, was excited to operate the mitre saw to make the first cut of the day. When asked if he is considering a career in the trades, Sam said maybe, and that construction would be his trade of choice: “My uncle owns a construction company, so I want to go work for him”. 

Among the specialized staff overseeing the activity were Construction and Woodwork teachers Mr. Gilham and Mr. Hakala, Co-operative Education teacher Mr. Doromko, and Student Success Resource Teacher Roger Drcar. When a Co-op student is placed in a trade, the Co-op teacher enrolls them in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) which is in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour. It is very common for a Co-op student to greatly excel at their Co-op placement to the point of being offered permanent employment. The enrollment into OYAP provides these skilled students with a seamless transition to paid employment immediately after Grade 12 graduation. 

Mr. Doromko believes that Grade 8 is a great time to be exposed to the options that the trades offer. “Hopefully these students will all be at Westgate CVI next year. We will continue to present trades as a possible career choice because there is a definite need for it. Now is a good time to get them to think about what they want to do after secondary school”. Lakehead Public Schools offers the biggest Specialized High Skills Major (SHSM) program and the biggest Co-operative Education program in Northwestern Ontario. “We know what we’re doing and we’re really good at it,” said Mr. Doromko.

For more information on OYAP and SHSM visit: