December 6, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Local partnership brings opportunities for Grades 7 and 8 students across Grey-Bruce to explore the skilled trades
RIPLEY, Ont. – Grades 7 and 8 students at Ripley-Huron Community School got a first-hand look at the new Skills Opportunities Showcase (SOS) Trailer 2.0 that officially launched on Friday, Dec. 6. The SOS Trailer 2.0 aims to give youth in schools across Bruce and Grey counties exposure to the skilled trades and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The SOS Trailer 2.0 is the first-of-its-kind in Ontario and 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 the 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. They also provide 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 Mr. Barrett.
The idea for a mobile learning lab dates back to 2009 when the Four County Labour Market Planning Board launched a similar initiative.
“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.
The SOS 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 schools and 11 secondary schools.
It was funded through the collaborative efforts of the Township of Huron-Kinloss and the Municipality of South Bruce that each provided $12,500. In addition, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) contributed $50,000 through its Early Investment in Education and Skills (EIES) program. The EIES program supports education and skills training for residents of areas actively participating in Canada’s plan as a way to contribute to community well-being and capacity. The SOS Trailer 2.0 was purchased by 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.”
Quotes “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.” – 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!” –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.” – 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.” –Gary O'Donnell, Director of Education at the Bruce-Grey Catholic School Board.
For more information:
Regional Communications Manager