“You try to go on a construction site and the door slams shut,” said Leo DelZotto, President of Tridel, at BOLT‘s annual Day of Discovery. “What today is is getting you over that fence. Getting you inside to see something that’s not easily available to you.”
BOLT provides an invaluable experience for youth during the Day of Discovery, held this year on May 31. Most teenagers graduate high school with little or no knowledge about what to do for a career and in this job market, it’s getting harder and harder to find meaningful careers.
“Why would you do this work? You have to select something that you’re going to enjoy, that you’re going to have passion for,” DelZotto told the youth assembled at George Brown College. “Secondly, you get a hell of a good pay cheque. Most of the trades people that I come across own a home before a brain surgeon graduates. Toronto is also one of the strongest building markets in the world. And, unfortunately, we have an aging population in the trades.”
The Day of Discovery lets students visit a site and get their hands dirty, while learning all about career and education options.
First up was a trip to Ventus, in Metrogate, to see what goes on at a site. After a shaky trip up the hoist, Senior Site Superintendent Sean McCaffrey showed the process of constructing a suite from the top floors to the bottom. Sean explained what stage each was at, which trades were working there and what jobs were in demand. It was really neat to wander through a bare bones suite down to one that was almost complete and see the full process.
Dave Muffitt, Operations Manager at Provident Energy, explained green building and the environmental features of Metrogate, while emphasizing how huge the green market has become. Gouled Osman, a Planner from the Development and Planning department, described what goes into planning a community site, from zoning to working with the city and all the other complications that must drive the Planning department crazy!
After seeing and talking to so many people at work at the site, the youth returned to George Brown College to learn a bit more about some trades. Surveying instructors took them outside and showed the precision of their job as they marked out what could be a small house or shed. The really cool plumbing lab was a maze of levers, pipes, faucets, sinks, and simulated basements and washroom systems.
“There’s more to it than the toilet!” said Plumbing Professor Angelo Palantzas.
Next the students learned the basics of brick laying — a very labour intensive, but precise, craft.
Each step of the way, the construction professionals had not only enthusiasm, telling the youth about their careers and being on a site, but they also had such pride in what they do. The emphasis was on construction and the trades as being a craft, something one specialized in and perfected over time.
This group of young people was attentive and interested as they caught a glimpse of what could be an exciting career in Toronto’s construction industry. Also encouraging was the large percentage of female participants eager to learn more.
The Day of Discovery is such a fantastic way to show what a quality career construction is. The trades may not garner as much respect as they once did, but this day showed that with the many options available, the great pay, and the need for people, unlike many industries at the moment, it’s a very good option for many people.