Friday, July 12, 2024

Students Attend Tools in the Trades Bootcamp

Students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Transportation program at four Bluewater District School Board (BWDSB) secondary schools recently enjoyed an interactive day of enhancing their skills at Tools in the Trades Bootcamp.

Held on Thursday, March 21, at Owen Sound District Secondary School (OSDSS), the 30 participants alternated between the classroom and automotive shop for soft skills development and hands-on learning. Along with OSDSS, participating schools included John Diefenbaker Senior School (Hanover), Grey Highlands Secondary School (Flesherton), and Georgian Bay Community School (Meaford).

For the practical portion of the day, each student was given automotive challenges to complete and the special gift of their own toolkit to take home. Challenges included teardown and reassembly of a small engine, working with disc and drum brakes, as well as rear tire alignment and chain inspection, removal, and adjustment for a dirt bike.

The theoretical component focused on career development as students heard from a Tools in the Trades industry expert about important skills for employability. During an in-depth exercise in job interview preparation, students practised being specific and providing concrete examples in their responses to interviewer questions. Tips were also shared on putting together a resume and cover letter.

A highlight of the day was the opportunity for networking as potential co-op placement businesses visited during lunch to chat with the students. Many BWDSB students have benefited in their career pathways over the years through successful co-ops with local employers who recognize the value in training and mentoring aspiring youth in the trades.

It is fantastic to see senior transportation students and their teachers from across the board come together to listen to the pathway experience of a licensed journey person, hear about future job opportunities, and receive a tool kit to try out and take home. BWDSB has top-notch qualified tech teachers offering several SHSM programs throughout the district,” said Kim Harbinson, BWDSB Learning Services Administrator – Student Success.

“We were excited to host our Tools in the Trades Boot Camp in Owen Sound, empowering individuals to pursue careers in skilled trades. With a high demand for skilled workers, our hands-on training program aims to address Ontario’s skilled trades gap. We are committed to paving the way to accessible apprenticeships and employment opportunities in the trades, both in Owen Sound and throughout the province,” said Melanie Winter, Executive Director for Support Ontario Youth.

Tools in the Trades Bootcamp is an Employment Ontario program funded in part by the provincial and federal governments. BWDSB thanks the many industry experts at Tools in the Trades along with all the businesses and partners in our local community and beyond for their support of our students through this fantastic experiential learning initiative. To learn more, please visit


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