Andrew Pariser and Amina Dibe / RESCON
There are moments when we receive gratitude for what we do at RESCON – and the recent annual George Brown College lunch is definitely one of them.
Earlier this month, the 16 students in the RESCON Residential Construction Management certificate program at George Brown (GBC) met with more than 10 RESCON members in a networking event at the college's lakeshore campus designed to kickstart the work-placement process, a component of the RESCON / George Brown College post-graduate certificate program.
Among the builders on hand were Aspen Ridge Homes, Brookfield Residential, Great Gulf Homes, Menkes, Mutual Development Corp., Remington Homes, Starlane Homes, The Daniels Corp., Tribute and Tridel Corp.
At this annual event, the enthusiasm is always palpable – there are many hungry, eager minds that can’t wait to get a foothold with an established residential builder and start their careers in construction. To apply for this post-graduate certificate, students must have graduated from a related three-year construction diploma. Some students – like Andrew Kha of Toronto – have had a straight path from high school to college to the cusp of a career. Others – such as Merlita Marticio – have more site and life experience on their road to this construction management program.
Marticio, for one, moved to Toronto from the Philippines in 2007 after studying civil engineering at a university in the country’s capital, Manila, then pursued a career in project management development. After moving here, she wanted a job that made use of her expertise in math.
'I'M GOOD WITH NUMBERS -- MATH FOR ME IS VERY EASY'
“I like the placement of the program. I want to learn more and become an estimator. I’m good with numbers – math for me is very easy – and I’m good at building science. My tests (in the three-year program) were almost perfect. I want to move up later in my career, maybe as a senior estimator.”
As for Kha, high school teachers introduced him to the world of construction, and he caught the bug right away.
The current RESCON / George Brown residential construction management certificate program class.
“Everybody else in my family was doing banking, working for law firms. Once I get my foot in the door (of construction management), I can make a big impact because of my management and work skills,” he said, brimming with confidence.
Richmond Hill’s Tamara Baptiste said the field placement component of the program was what convinced her to continue her studies at GBC.
“As long as you show me what to do, I will definitely try my best,” said Baptiste, who counts among her previous construction experiences driving a rock truck to move earth in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Vertille Lewis hopes to round out his knowledge as construction is in his blood. Lewis’s father was a contractor building schools, hospitals and residential homes in his native St. Vincent in the Caribbean.
Lewis says he feels he’s already benefiting from the program: “I’m already engrossed. As long as the program keeps rolling the way it’s structured, I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I’m already meeting with elite builders.”
After a chat with Lewis and many other RESCON program students, Daniels VP Sam Tassone described his conversations with the group as a “reassuring and optimistic experience.”
“I’m very impressed by the depth of the talent that I see,” Tassone said. “These women and men are going to be the future of construction and will continue to build Toronto’s skyline. We just have to give them a chance.”
Josh Wills, an estimator with Tridel’s North York office, said Tridel is looking forward to taking one or two more RESCON graduates this year as site coordinators and has hired at least one student from the program in each of its five years of existence. “We’ve had great success through the RESCON program,” Wills said.
They are not alone in placing the students into contract and permanent jobs. In fact, the program has a job placement rate of more than 95 per cent.
Clint Kissoon of George Brown College speaks to the students at the lakeshore campus as RESCON VP Andrew Pariser listens intently.
Clint Kissoon, the chair of the Angelo DelZotto School of Construction Management at George Brown’s Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies, said he was confident that this trend would continue after the students overcome their initial fears.
“I know you just graduated from the three-year program,” he told the class. “It’s sort of a process where you start off being afraid to go out into the field. But this partnership that we have with RESCON provides an invaluable opportunity for students to show their skills to our industry partners. You can’t rely solely on that piece of paper that you’ve got. You have to earn their respect in order for them to keep you.”Resumes for all 16 students will be sent to all RESCON members in early June. If you are interested in learning more about the program or providing a placement opportunity for a GBC grad, contact either Amina Dibe (email@example.com) or Andrew Pariser (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Good luck to the students, and RESCON thanks our members that attended the lunch and have been involved with this important program.
Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON and chair of the RESCON health and safety committee. Email him at email@example.com.
Amina Dibe is a policy and programs analyst for RESCON with a focus on training and apprenticeship, health and safety, and government relations. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.