Many students from the KFL&A area had the opportunity to see and speak with construction trades on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, at an event held by the Kingston Regional Labour-Management Committee at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour in Kingston.
The events was sponsored by Cooper Equipment Rental and Utilities Kingston donated the use of the space for the day.
Dan Cardinal, the Senior Provincial Engagement Coordinator from Skills Ontario, kicked each session off with a presentation about the benefits of choosing a rewarding career in the trades and why Ontario needs more tradespeople. Dan, a funny and engaging speaker, kept the students’ attention throughout the presentation.
Approximately 400 students could interact and experience demonstrations by trades such as electricians, carpenters, boiler makers, heavy equipment operators, painters and allied trades, arborists, millwrights, ironworkers, mechanical insulators, labourers and welders.
Utilities Kingston had exhibits for Powerline Technicians, Wastewater Technicians and Natural Gas Technicians.
Other organizations were also in attendance to provide information to the students, including 3M, St. Lawrence College, Cooper Equipment, Ministry of Labour Immigration, Training Skills and Development (MLITSD), Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the IHSA.
Some of the exhibitors had hands-on tasks. One of those were the carpenters, who had a VR demonstration where students virtually walked on a plank high up in the air – not for the faint of heart. The students were also able to operate a working model of a mini excavator, do virtual welding and make hula-hoops with piping.
Because this was a Labour Management initiative, the undertone for the event was the importance of safety in the workplace. Some of the products 3M displayed were respirators, hearing protection and harnesses. The students donned harnesses with the IHSA and talked to the MLITSD.
Students each received a scavenger hunt card they had to fill out by visiting each exhibit. Once filled, each student took a bag containing snacks for the bus ride back to school.
The IHSA has a network of labour-management health & safety committees operating at the provincial, regional, and trade/sector level. These committees have a mandate of community outreach, such as this trades day event, and the time people give to the meetings and community events is voluntary.