Thirty-four students from eight Avon Maitland District School Board high schools participated in the The Real Deal on Skilled Trades.
The annual women in trades event was supported through special funding by the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) in order to support students who identify as female. The goal is to promote the top 14 skilled trades, where women are historically underrepresented and to provide opportunities for students to hear from female journeypersons about their careers in the skilled trades, according to a media release.
The students and their guests enjoyed a meal, heard from nine local female mentors and participated in a hands-on multi-trade workshop.
Mentors who spoke on the panel and assisted students and their guests are local to Huron and Perth counties, either growing up here or working in the trades.
Amanda Lawson, an electrician and graduate of St. Marys DCVI, spoke about the importance of sharing her experiences with students.
“I wish I would have known about programs like OYAP when I was in high school. Being able to share my story with students can hopefully help them to get the most out of their high school before they graduate.”
Lily Armstrong, a Grade 10 student at Listowel District High School, said hearing from mentors was meaningful.
“Listening to the mentors and hearing how they got into the trades was helpful because it gave me an idea of what my next steps should be.”
Jodi Froud, an OYAP recruiter, said the format was changed to include a significant adult to accompany each student.
"We wanted this event to be about sharing an experience together and for all of our participants to be able to hear from our amazing female mentors about their successes, challenges, and how they overcame them. We want all of our students in Avon Maitland to know that a career in the skilled trades can be for them. The Real Deal on Skilled Trades event allows students and their support systems an opportunity to delve deeper into the idea of pursuing a career in the skilled trades.”
For more information on OYAP and other pathways programming offered at Avon Maitland District School Board, visit amdsb.ca/pathways.