On May 30th, 27 students from 8 of Avon Maitland District School Board’s secondary schools participated in the annual Jill of All Trades day hosted by Conestoga College. This event is sponsored by the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and its goal is to expose young females to the skilled trades in a day filled with inspirational speakers as well as hands on learning taught by college instructors.
The morning started off with a keynote by Mandy Rennehan, the founder of Freshco, which is a full-service reconstruction and retail maintenance provider. Mandy spoke to the girls about the importance of trying a skilled trade and the feeling of gratitude that comes with working with your hands.
During the rest of the day, the girls participated in a variety of 3 workshops that consisted of carpentry, masonry, food processing, welding, plumbing and electrical to name a few. Specialist High Skills Major board lead, Jodi Froud, described the day as one of the best opportunities out there for girls to learn about the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program by participating in hands on workshops. “It exposes the girls to a post-secondary institution and the talented staff who teach there. They are able to feel unintimidated as they are surrounded by other girls who are looking to try something that may lead into OYAP through a Co-op or a general interest in pursuing the skilled trades upon graduation” said Froud.
This is the fifth year that this event has taken place and Avon Maitland continues to offer the opportunity to students in grades 10, 11 and 12 who are interested in learning more about the skilled trades. Grade 12 MDHS student Whitney said “I really enjoyed the day. Mandy’s talk made me feel a lot more proud of the trades and learning about a few trades definitely broadened my interests. It was well worth it.” Before the day, Whitney thought she was most interested in construction, but as the day progressed she realized there were so many trades that she enjoyed it was hard for her to pick a favourite.
Earlier this year, young females in Huron and Perth were invited to an event called the Real Deal on Skilled Trades. This evening event allowed the girls to bring a parent or significant influencer to attend with them in hopes of creating more open dialogue about the benefits of working in a skilled trade and how females can be supported in a male dominated workplace.
For more information about the skilled trades and apprenticeships, please contact Mark Roth, Pathways Coordinator for AMDSB.