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Exceptional Hands-on Learning Experience at SFDCI Offers Students Preview of Trades
Exceptional Hands-on Learning Experience at SFDCI Offers Students Preview of Trades
Posted on 04/21/2022
Exceptional Hands-on Learning Experience at SFDCI Offers Students Preview of Trades

April 21, 2022 – An eager to learn and enthusiastic group of Grade 9, Grade 10, and Grade 11 students at Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute (SFDCI) are engaging in a unique hands-on experience this week that is allowing them to learn how to weld, cook, build, and how to move and fuel their body in ways to make it strong and healthy.  

Students have had the opportunity to weld, both in real life and through virtual reality simulation; learn about fitness, nutrition and how to cook; and talk with experienced electricians and carpenters, and then learn how to use power tools and build electrical circuits. These hands-on and real-world activities are part of the UCDSB Specialist High Skills Major Program and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program initiative to bring the St. Lawrence College Mobile Skills Training Labs to 11 secondary schools across our district, one week at a time, from April 4 until June 17. 
At SFDCI, students with an interest in the trades were able to sign up for one of the six workshops and attend a two-and-a-half-hour session, hosted by an instructor or trainer from St. Lawrence College.  

“Students are able to learn more about these trades and industries and it’s really getting them to think about courses they may want to take in high school, and opportunities they may have beyond that,” explains Lauren Levac, Student Success Learning Partner, and co-lead on this initiative. “We are thrilled with the amount of student engagement and community support we have received as the SLC Mobile Labs travel throughout our school district. The schools have done a great job at generating interest among students, including those who are generally under-represented in the skilled trades, with an opportunity to participate.” 
The sessions, which are longer than a typical class, are no challenge to keep students focused or get them to retain what they have learned. In fact, the students are elated to take part in this experience.

“We are learning about the welding industry and how to weld,” says Grade 9 student Austin Larose, who had the chance to weld both in-person and virtually. “My favourite part was the virtual reality welding because it was really cool. I want to go to college to learn to be an underwater welder and this experience has taught me a lot about how to get into the industry and how to weld.”  

Fellow participant and Grade 11 student Maxim Clark had prior experience with welding, but learned a lot during this experience and is actively pursuing a career in this trade.  

“I didn't know that certain welding was made for certain things,” he shared. “It was cool to learn about tips and tricks of the industry and hear about our instructor’s experiences. It was quite intriguing.”
Clark is also taking part in the dual credit program between the school and St. Lawrence College in welding. When complete, he will earn both a high school credit and a college credit.  

Grade 11 student, Janusz Rudzinski, took part in the fitness session. He thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot about the body.  

“I had a lot of fun,” he said. “I learned about every muscle in the body and how many muscles are in each group. I also learned how to use your body better, how to engage your core and that you should do that for all movements.”  

Rudzinski also learned about cardio training and strength training, and the importance of both.  

By the end of the week, approximately 112 SFDCI students will have had an opportunity to take part in one of the sessions. Those who participate will earn a micro-credential certificate from St. Lawrence College.   The trailers will move to Gananoque Secondary School for the week of April 25 – April 29.    

For media inquiries, please contact:   

April Scott-Clarke   Manager of Communications   Upper Canada District School Board   [email protected] 

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