Thursday, February 10, 2011

Skills Work!® On The Road - Sudbury

Dinos and Saucers and Moose, Oh My!

The previous two Skills Work!® On The Road posts were contributed by our two most experienced Liaison Officers, Devon Turcotte from Woodbridge and William Howe from Peterborough.  They told you about some of the more unusual experiences they have come across in their 9 combined years “on the road.”  Since I have been on the road for less than a year, I haven’t experienced anything quite as extraordinary with school presentations. So instead, I’m going to tell you about some of the extraordinary things I came across recently while actually “on the road.”

My geographic region is the Near North, which is why I’m based out of Sudbury.  A couple of months ago I went on my first multi-day, long-distance road trip to visit schools in the communities farthest away from my home.  I planned out my trip to cover as much ground as possible in a week – I drove 1985 km in 5 days, and spent just over 22.5 hours in the car.  That’s almost 400 km and 4.5 hours of driving each day!

Considering my region is the largest geographic area for a Liaison Officer,  I must make several week-long trips during the school year.  This trip included presentations at some very small schools in small towns (I presented to a class of 8 students in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8!), which made the trip very memorable, but one thing I didn’t expect on the trip was the amount of roadside attractions I encountered.

I had heard of the famous giant goose in Wawa (which I learned is not the only giant goose in town – my hotel had a giant goose on its roof and I saw a couple others around town), but little did I know that I was going to drive by some lesser known giants on my trip.

I saw a giant snowman in Beardmore, a pack of giant wolves attacking two giant moose in Hearst, a giant nativity scene in Kapuskasing and a full-sized replica of a giant dinosaur, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, on the highway near Mattice!

Another fantastic sight I drove past was a flying saucer, proudly displayed outside the tourism centre in the town of Moonbeam.  And of course, I almost forgot a giant roadside attraction that we have right here in Sudbury - the Big Nickel!  These are just a few of the many roadside attractions around the province, which can showcase the personality of a town or region. 

Next time you see a roadside attraction like these, remember that they were also designed, built and installed by people in skilled trade and technology careers!  And I just love that I get to travel to new places while making sure that even the small towns in remote locations around our beautiful province get to hear our message about the myriad of opportunities that are out there in the skilled trades and technology!  So follow your passion and do what you love, so you’ll always love what you do!

Mauricio Ospina
Bilingual Liaison Officer

Click here to see where Mauricio and the rest of the Liaison Team have travelled so far this school year!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ms. Skills - From the Executive Director

Skills Canada – Ontario will host its 10th Annual Fundraising Gala on March 4

There have been countless articles written about the impending shortage of skilled tradespeople.  In a recent edition of Maclean's, Canada’s most famous contractor, Mike Holmes was quoted as saying, “in 10 years, we’re going to be a million tradespeople short.”

Convinced yet?   We have been convinced for over 21 years that young people can have a very rewarding future by choosing the skilled trades as a career path.

Enabling change requires action.  We need to give our young people the opportunity to explore the skilled trades and technologies as career choices if we hope to strengthen our workforce, and develop the talent our province requires to stand out in a very competitive global economy.

On March 4, 2011, Skills Canada – Ontario will host its 10th Annual Fundraising Gala, appropriately themed “Building Futures, One Dream At A Time.”  It is always a very exciting evening that features dinner, live music, and a silent auction.  This year, we will also incorporate a live auction into the evening.

The event was established by the Board of Directors to raise funds for the Skills Canada – Ontario Bursary, which provides financial assistance to competitors from Ontario that advance to the Canadian Skills Competition.  It also provides assistance to students participating in other Skills Canada – Ontario programs where costs may be prohibitive.

We have countless stories of young people who have participated in programs offered by Skills Canada – Ontario who have gone on to have engaging, successful careers.  Celebrating their success, as well as the success of other skilled tradespeople associated with our organization, is something we are very proud to share.

Our Fundraising Gala also features inductions into the Klaus D. Woerner Hall of Fame.  The late Klaus Woerner, founder and CEO of ATS Automation Tooling Systems, was a gifted engineer, entrepreneur and business leader who made a significant and lasting contribution to the global automation industry.  Thousands of young engineers and tradespeople around the world have benefited from his commitment to apprenticeship training.  His sharp intellect, dedication to adding value through innovation, global insight and passion to succeed made him one of Canada's great entrepreneurs.

The Hall of Fame Awards recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of skilled trades and technologies. Since 2006, this award has been presented in memory of Klaus Woerner, a trailblazer for the skilled trades.  Visit our website to see a list of past recipients.

We would be happy to have you join us at this exciting event.  For information, or to order tickets, click here.

Gail Smyth
Executive Director, Skills Canada - Ontario