Skills Ontario and Linamar host Mentor Build for young women

Nov 25 2016

Linamar Corporation CEO Linda Hasenfratz poses with grade 11 St. James High School student Cheyenne Karn-Whaley at Skills Ontario's Career Exploration Event in Guelph November 24, 2016.                                                                                            

Linamar Corporation CEO Linda Hasenfratz poses with grade 11 St. James High School student Cheyenne Karn-Whaley in Guelph November 24, 2016.


GUELPH – As part of its Young Women's Initiatives, Skills Ontario saw nearly 100 secondary school students across three school boards at a one-day Career Exploration Event yesterday.

Hosted at Linamar Corporation's Frank Hasenfratz Centre For Excellence in Manufacturing, the day-long program for grade nine to 12 girls in Guelph included a series of hands-on building challenges and Q&A sessions with experienced skilled tradeswomen. As part of the program, Skills Ontario's volunteer mentors also participated in a development workshop opportunity to network with other tradeswomen and work together to encourage an incoming generation into the field.

Linamar Corporation CEO Linda Hasenfratz took time to speak with the girls on the importance of exploring and pursuing careers in the skilled trades. She addressed the reality of the current underrepresentation of women in many skilled trades sectors, and strongly encouraged the young women in the audience to pursue their interests and hobbies in areas relating to skilled trades.

Centre Wellington District High School Chef Instructor Nicole DeBeyer has attended the event for the past four years with her students because she said she recognizes the value of introducing young women to potential skilled trades opportunities. Bringing the largest group in attendance yesterday – 23 girls in total – she said this year's workshop series was one of the best ever. 

Skills Ontario Director of Programs Scott Verhoeve hosting one of multiple hands-on workshops for young women at Linamar Corporation in Guelph November 24, 2016.

"I watched as students worked collaboratively to build bridges and birdhouses, often with students they had never met. Not only did they rise to the occasion, they encouraged and empowered each of their group members to participate and take ownership of their learning," she said. "Using a variety of interactive games and challenges really demonstrated the need for skills such as an understanding of spatial sense, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination."

Mentors representing industries in forestry, horticulture, carpentry, plumbing, and more were welcomed from the City of Guelph, Hydro One, Conestoga College, Toyota, and OCAS. Skills Ontario was pleased to collaborate with mentors from local businesses as well, including Fred Kau, Lang's Plumbing and Heating, Massiv Die Form, and Bill Stewart Construction. 

Interested in more Young Women's Initiatives? This school year, the Young Women's Conferences will be held at the Toronto Congress Centre. Mark your calendar: registration opens February 7! Click  here for more information on the conference and registration.

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