by Gloria Welton
The Construction Association of PEI (CAPEI) is reaching youth in the school system through Virtual Reality Training.
Sam Sanderson, General Manager of CAPEI, says they are putting a lot of effort into finding ways to give junior high and high school students more exposure to careers in construction. “We just launched Virtual Reality Training. Anyone can put on a headset, grab controllers, and virtually experience trades such as welding, heavy equipment operating, plumbing, or HVAC.”
CAPEI has incorporated Virtual Reality Training into their training programs, and it is also available to the school system and other partners.
“Those who try it are amazed at how much it feels like the real thing. We are among the first construction associations in Canada to offer virtual reality trades training.”
Sam and Riley Aiello, HR Manager, made their first virtual reality stop at Bluefield High School recently. “The equipment and the opportunity are out of this world,” says Riley. “It is a great chance to get a quick look and feel for a trade that you might not have a chance to experience any other way. These trades are not offered in high school. Through this engaging learning opportunity, we can give students a basic idea of what is involved in trades which are in high demand.”
Some of the students who tried the virtual reality experience and their career plans:
Emma Stewart is in grade 12 and lives in Cornwall. “I first took carpentry in grade 10 and 11. Last semester I took double carpentry in the morning, and I really enjoy the class. I love making a plan, building and seeing the finished product, and putting it to use. My brother is a plumber, and my grandfather was a woodworker. He built a lot of the furniture in our house. That is where I got the interest. I also take trades math, which is a good help.”
Emma plans to take a gap year after high school. “Originally, I wanted to travel, but now that is not possible, so I plan to work. I hope to continue in a retail job but also get a job at an equestrian store in Charlottetown.
“I thought about taking the Heritage Retrofit program at Holland College. but I am not sure what I am going to do yet. I love photography as well. I might take both.”
Catherine Searle is in grade 12 and lives near Stanley Bridge. “My father was a carpenter for many years. When he passed away a year ago, I wanted to follow in his footsteps, and I enjoy carpentry. I took carpentry last semester, and now I am in the two-credit carpentry class.
She has applied to the carpentry program at Holland College Waterfront campus for next year. After completing the program, she hopes to work for an employer to gain experience, and then start her own company.
Christian Desreux is in grade 12 and lives in Cornwall. “Originally, I was not planning to go to post-secondary, but I can’t travel right now. I got an offer to play football for Holland College, and then decided to take the Holland College Kinesiology program because I enjoy working out and exercise science.
“I plan to pursue a two-plus-two degree program in Australia. During my childhood, we moved around a lot and I really want to see the rest of the world. I would love to eventually raise a family on PEI.
“In grade 10 I took an automotive class, and also took carpentry with Leo MacDonald. He is always super nice and showed me how to use the equipment and the tools. I do not have the most hands-on experience in the world but everything I know I learned from Leo.
“I considered working in a trade when I was younger and thought about the Red Seal path, but decided that I wanted to learn trades skills so I can fix things in my future home and my car. I have the basics and that is great for me.
“The atmosphere in the carpentry shop is incredible. I can hang out with friends when we are building something, woodburning, or carving something out, which is pretty cool. It is the only spot in the entire school where you can just be yourself and where not everything is by the book. I attribute every bit of the success of this carpentry shop to Leo, because he shows great respect toward every student and they respect him in return.”
To book Virtual Reality Training with the Construction Association of PEI, call 902-368-3303.