TRAINING & EDUCATION: Minister McNaughton praises BOLT’s Day of Discovery
Andrew Pariser / RESCON
There are many organizations that RESCON is proud to be affiliated with, and BOLT is no exception.
The BOLT program (Building Opportunities for Life Today) was launched by builder/developer Tridel Corp. in 2009 to assist under-resourced youth to connect to education and careers in construction. The BOLT charitable foundation was established in 2013.
As far as I’m concerned, BOLT is the gold standard for charities involved in creating career opportunities for underprivileged youth into the trades and construction careers. They have presented 345 financial awards adding up to $1.1 million. That success can be directly attributed to Tridel’s vision and commitment at the top level, including Leo DelZotto and Sandra DelZotto, and BOLT executive director Joanne Bin.
The highlight of the year for BOLT is the Day of Discovery, a full-day event co-hosted by Tridel and George Brown College in which youth interested in learning more about the trades meet with industry professionals and participate in workshops and conversations to gauge their interest in the skilled trades, construction management and other construction fields. This is a day of industry education that is second to none.
Minister Monte McNaughton, second from left, chats with BOLT executive director Joanne Bin at the 2019 Day of Discovery as students participate in a workshop at George Brown College.
What was unique at this year’s recent Discovery was that the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton attended the event held on George Brown’s Casa Loma campus on his first day handling the training and skills development file, mingling with the participants during a carpentry workshop in which they were making picture frames. The youth later visited Tridel’s Avani site in Scarborough to observe a construction site in action.
“We were honoured that the Minister took time out of his demanding schedule to speak with youth who are trying to discover new careers and learn more about themselves,” Bin says. “That really said a lot to us about this government’s commitment to the future of the skilled trades and construction.”
In all, 40 youth attended who were referred by BOLT’s partner agencies such as Toronto Community Housing Corp., the Toronto-based pre-apprenticeship program Building Up, Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute and the City of Toronto.
'A CAREER IN THE TRADES IS EXCITING, FULFILLING AND PROFITABLE'
Regarding his interest in the event, Minister McNaughton said: “I loved seeing all the young people who were interested in the trades at the Day of Discovery. It’s so important that we show young people and their parents that a career in the trades is exciting, fulfilling and profitable. These are well paying jobs.”
BuildForce Canada, an arm’s-length federally funded agency that tracks statistics for Canadian construction, predicted earlier this year that Ontario’s construction industry will need to recruit 103,900 new workers over the coming decade to keep pace with retirements and additional demand. That demand will be led by the GTA.
“Ontario is facing a looming problem: a shortage of skilled workers,” McNaughton said. “Our government knows we can’t afford to be complacent. That’s why we’re promoting the skilled trades and taking urgent action to make Ontario a leading destination for investment and job creation.”
Posing at the Day of Discovery hosted at George Brown College's Casa Loma campus are (from left): Dr. Adrienne Galway, special advisor to GBC president; Justin Van Dette, Tridel Corp.'s government and community relations director; Dr. Adel Esayed, dean of Centre for Construction & Engineering Technologies at GBC; BOLT's Joanne Bin; Minister McNaughton; and Denise Devlin-Li, chair of School of Apprenticeship & Skilled Trades at GBC.
We appreciate the government’s commitment to the trades, including ongoing promotional efforts by MPPs David Piccini and Jill Dunlop.
A big part of the Day of Discovery is letting them know about the different resources and routes they can take into construction, whether it’s directly through the skilled trades or post-secondary education, like the RESCON-sponsored construction management program at George Brown.
“BOLT also offers two weeks of job shadowing on Tridel construction sites with the trades, construction management and the safety team,” Bin said. “They learn the importance of being early to the site and observe the construction professionals’ work. We re-meet after the two weeks and sit together to discuss their options and interests. If they’re interested in the trades, they head to a pre-apprenticeship program like Hammerheads. Depending on their age, if they’re still in high school and part of the Toronto District School Board, they might participate in the STEP to Construction program, run by Elvy Moro.
“If they like what they’ve seen in construction management, maybe they head back to school by enrolling in George Brown. There are many options.”
Learn more about BOLT and the Day of Discovery at boltonline.org.
Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON, chair of RESCON Training and Apprenticeship Committee, and sits on the BOLT board of directors.
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