New trailer brings a taste of the skilled trades to local students

Students at Ripley-Huron Community School got a firsthand look at the new Skills Opportunities Showcase (SOS) Trailer 2.0 during its official launch on Friday, December 6, 2019.

A local partnership will allow Grades 7 and 8 students across Bruce and Grey Counties to explore the skilled trades

The new Skills Opportunities Showcase Trailer 2.0 will visit schools across Bluewater District School Board and Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board.

The initiative is expected to reach more than 20,000 students in the area’s 50 elementary and 11 secondary schools.

It will give youth in local schools exposure to the skilled trades and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. As the first-of-its-kind in Ontario, the trailer will showcase various skilled trade opportunities, including tire changing, heavy equipment, hair styling, welding, carpentry, culinary, masonry, electrical wiring, as well as various STEM learning tools and dexterity challenges.

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is always looking for new ways for youth to explore skilled trades. The SOS Trailer 2.0 brings hands-on activities from every sector right to Grades 7 and 8 students who are trying to decide what courses to take in high school,” said Dave Barrett, coordinator/facilitator for OYAP.

OYAP hosts a number of events and competitions throughout the year and also provides training so students can explore apprenticeship opportunities.

“We want to give students in Grades 7 and 8 a fun, interactive experience with the SOS Trailer 2.0 so they can pursue their STEM interest in secondary school, join a Specialist High Skills Major program, try a co-op placement, and potentially be the apprentice our local businesses are looking for in a few short years,” added Barrett.

The idea for a mobile learning lab dates back to 2009 when the Four County Labour Market Planning Board launched a similar initiative. The SOS Trailer 2.0 was purchased by the Four County Labour Market Planning Board.

“We’re looking forward to launching an updated version of the trailer and continuing to collaborate with the school boards and other local partners to provide hands-on opportunities that enrich the educational experiences of our youth as they explore in-demand careers,” said Gemma Mendez-Smith, executive director for the Four County Labour Market Planning Board.

“At the NWMO, we are always looking for opportunities to promote the skilled trades and STEM education,” said Becky Smith, NWMO regional communications manager. “Partnership is at the core of what we do and we’re thrilled to be participating with local school boards, the OYAP, the Four County Labour Market Planning Board, along with Huron-Kinloss and South Bruce.”

The Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Municipality of South Bruce each provided $12,500, while the Nuclear Waste Management Organization contributed $50,000 toward the project.

“This is an amazing opportunity for the youth in our communities. We are fortunate to have the support from the NWMO to secure resources that allow us to support great initiatives like OYAP and give our youth this hands-on experience, and spark an interest in the skilled trades at a young age,” said Mitch Twolan, mayor of the Township of Huron-Kinloss

“The SOS Trailer 2.0 provides our youth with a great opportunity to learn about the trades and potential career choices. We’re really glad to be working with the NWMO to be able to support this unique hands-on learning experience!” said Robert Buckle, mayor of the Municipality of South Bruce

“Congratulations to the many dedicated community partners whose collaboration, hard work, and support have enabled the launch of the new SOS Trailer 2.0 for our students. The trailer will be an amazing asset in our local communities through its unique experiential learning opportunities, which will further promote interest in skilled trades and STEM-related pathways,” said Alana Murray, director of education at Bluewater District School Board

“We would like to thank our many community partners who have contributed to the project and worked together with both our school boards to bring this skilled trades and STEM hands-on learning opportunity to the youth of Bruce and Grey Counties,” said Gary O’Donnell, director of education at Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board

Students at Ripley-Huron Community School got a firsthand look at the new Skills Opportunities Showcase (SOS) Trailer 2.0 during its official launch on Friday, December 6, 2019.