Glengarry District High School in Alexandria offers several programs which give students opportunities to begin training for jobs in the trades while still in high school.
Grade 11 student Aaron Keurentjes is enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Transportation program. Through this program, Aaron has received several certifications, including working with a hoist. As well, he completed a dual credit program in welding at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall. He will graduate high school and already have earned one college credit. Aaron won a silver medal at the Skills Ontario competition held at St. Lawrence College in February and advanced to the qualification competition in Kingston.
“The ability to go to St. Lawrence College and get experience on the machines there has allowed me to see some of the possibilities that are out there for welders,” he says. “I might not have been aware of these possibilities without the chance to access the staff and equipment at St. Lawrence College on top of my courses at GDHS and the certifications from the SHSM program.”
Aaron is currently working on getting his 1996 Ford F150 road worthy and he is putting the skills he has learned in the SHSM program to use. “It's a lot of work, but it will be worth it. Right now I am redoing the top end of the 4.9L engine, replacing the brakes, and fixing up the body,” he explains. While Aaron does not yet know what he wants to do after school, he says, “All of these experiences have opened my eyes to the many possibilities for various jobs in the trades.”
The SHSM program is promoted by the Ministry of Education so students can develop employability skills, earn industry certificates (e.g, working at heights, First Aid, operating a hoist, etc.), and have on-thejob training while they work to earn high school credits. GDHS offers students a chance to earn a SHSM seal in transportation and health and wellness.