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Construction Academy readies students for careers

Construction Academy
Posted on 04/10/2019
Masonry student

Ontario’s construction sector continues to grapple with a skilled labour shortage, and while that may be a troubling trend for the industry, it creates a rare opportunity for those students looking for very rewarding careers with plenty of potential for upward mobility.

“The prospects to move up and gain a choice selection of placement and employment is at an all time high,” says Cory McAiney, the teacher who heads up the construction program at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School. “It’s never been like this and it’s a great opportunity for young people.”

To help address the industry shortage and prepare students for careers in the sector, the WECSDSB launched its brand new Construction Academy in 2017. It brought together a previously established masonry program at F.J. Brennan – established two years previously with a tremendous amount of help from the Ontario Masonry Contractors’ Association – with the state-of-the-art construction lab at St. Joseph’s to create an enriching two-year program that gives students a great head start on the apprenticeships they require to work in the trades.

“By the time I graduate high school I’m going to have about 800 hours and my Level One,” said Mitchell MacPherson, a Grade 12 student who will complete the program this spring. “So that could be a full year if you go right in to apprenticing after high school.”

This spring, the inaugural class of 2017 will graduate and every student has been scooped up by local contractors and will be well on their way to becoming full-fledged journey persons in the sector.

“I already have a couple of places that want to hire me on,” said Ben Berthiaume. “It’s very easy to get a job if you have the proper knowledge in the trades.”

Learn more about the Construction Academy Program here.

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