Local Student Masonry Program Going Province Wide

A skilled trades program offered by the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board and St. Clair College is now going province wide.

The program, which introduces the masonry trade to elementary and secondary students, has been so successful the Ministry of Education is expanding it to Kitchener-Waterloo, Peel Region and Ottawa.

Dan Fister is the Executive Superintendent of Innovation and Human Resources with the local Catholic school board.

He says the program helps fill a gap in the local workforce.

"We've expedited their skilled trades and we're producing more skilled trades people out there in a shorter period of time given this integration and this new model. We're also supporting a need in the community to address skilled trades shortages that have an adult component to it."

Fister says some young people are returning to school to take advantage of the program as well.

"This past winter, young folks from around the region were being trained at our facility. They're working toward their apprenticeship, but their pathway is different. They're already existing apprentices in the field and they're coming back under the college oversight to get training within our programming."

He says program graduates are well on their way to landing a good paying job.

"They're completed a bundle of courses. They've done a number of experiential learning activities, loads of training and certifications that are industry standard. By embedding it into our programs in Grade 11 and 12, those students, they're about anywhere from a quarter to a third of a way through their apprenticeships."

The program provides students with a combination of in class and hands on learning while preparing them for apprenticeship training with the ultimate goal of a career in masonry.

— with files from AM800's Patty Handysides