The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario reviewed a report on changes made to its trade skills curriculum as part of its participation in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). The OYAP promotes skilled trades learning opportunities for youth who are not interested in pursuing academic students at college or university.
Dan Lortie, OYAP coordinator for the CDSBEO, explained some of the changes to the program to adapt it to the home schooling of students. One of those changes involves replacing the annual SKLZ competition for students involved in trades and apprenticeship courses.
The 2021 SKLZ competition would have taken place at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall with 300 students expected to have competed in 17 categories of trades’ skills ranging from carpentry to hairstyling. For students studying carpentry as their trade skill, a Backyard Challenge will replace the SKLZ Challenge.
These students, either as individuals or a team, will choose between two shed designs to build. They will provide quarterly reports on their progress to a judging committee. Schools which have students competing in the backyard challenge will determine the finish for the completed shed with the goal of offering the finished shed for sale, with the proceeds going to the school’s technology program or donating the money to another designated cause.
The provincial education and labour ministries are also looking at ways to involve Grades 7 and 8 students interested in trades and apprenticeship programs. One idea the ministries are pursuing is a Race Car Challenge through participating schools with students involved in designing and building a race car.
The provincial government and schools involved in OYAP are also looking at various online projects, including virtual trades apprenticeship shows, to assist students pursuing vocational careers.