Grade 7 students get a taste of the trades

Hammers were busily banging at the John A. Brink Technology Centre at CNC on Friday.

Holding them were Grade 7 students from six local schools: Harwin, Ron Brent, Edgewood, Lac des Bois, Spruceland and Westwood.

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The students were participating in the Canfor Elementary Trades Program, where they had an opportunity to receive hands-on learning while developing skills and knowledge in various trade programs including carpentry, heavy duty/auto mechanics, millwrighting, and cooking.

The goal of the program is to encourage an interest in trades related careers and provide opportunities for student achievement.

Doug Borden has helped organize the event since it began three-and-a-half years ago.

"We are working with our seventh cohort, which means that we've worked with 220 students so far," Borden said.

Every Friday afternoon for 10 weeks, 32 Grade 7 students in the six elementary schools participate in the program.

The current group of students are learning basic automotive skills, such as changing and balancing tires and checking fluids, as well as carpentry skills including sawing a board to length, using a jigsaw to cut shapes and using a chisel to create a simple rabbet joint.

"Teachers select students who they think will get the most benefit. It's not just based on grades. Its great to see the students so excited and so engaged."

In the carpentry shop, students were building wooden tool boxes.

"This is something different. I really like this. It's fun," said Grade 7 student Jennifer Wall.

Keenan Tetreau was focused on his creation. "It's so good to teach kids stuff like this so we can get the experience," Tetreau said.

And for Katy Harasym, it was a first.

"I like learning new things. I help my dad sometimes, but I've never done a project like this all on my own," Harasym said.

CNC carpentry instructor Chris Carter was making his rounds for any student needing a hand.

"It's a good introduction for these kids," Carter said.

"It gets some tools in their hands and they get to see what it's like to actually build something."

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