Trillium Lakelands District School Board launched #StartMeUp, as a campaign designed to increase the knowledge and awareness of all regarding the wealth of opportunities and pathways available to students in the area of the skilled trades and apprenticeships.

The objective of the campaign is to explore current opportunities, start conversations, and plan for our students’ futures.

Who is this for?

Students, staff, parents, and community members will increase their knowledge and awareness of the multiple opportunities available to students in this area.

Why it’s important

Over the next ten years, as baby boomers retire, there will be a great need for skilled trade workers in Canada. Skills Canada estimates that 40 percent of new jobs created this decade will be in the skilled trades.

There are over 140 different career opportunities in apprenticeships in Ontario. See the below graphic for a full list, or explore the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program – Trades at a Glance.

The goal

  • Increase awareness that the skilled trades and apprenticeships are a viable option and opportunity to TLDSB secondary students.
  • Increase programs and services available to all TLDSB students – elementary and secondary.
  • Increase student enrolment in SHSM, OYAP, Dual Credits, Co-op and Technology Education.
  • Increase the knowledge and awareness of parents and community members of the multiple opportunities and benefits in the area of skilled trades and apprenticeships.

Want to help?

Are you interested in being apart of our #StartMeUp journey and helping educate our students by speaking at an event, providing a student with a co-operative education experience, being recognized through the TLDSB Spotlight Stories, and much more?

If so, fill out the #StartMeUp Champion Application and someone from the Pathways team will be in touch!


#StartMeUp Parent/Student Handbook

Download the #StartMeUp Parent/Student Handbook or reach out to your child’s school directly for a copy.

Useful links:

Our college partners

#StartMeUp newsletter

Edition #4 - Spring 2022

The #StartMeUp campaign continues to reach students, parents/guardians, and community members to increase awareness of opportunities and pathways available to students in the area of skilled trades and apprenticeships. Please visit the Pathways and Programs website for more information.

Junk Drawer Races

Junk Drawer Races

This year there have been a number of initiatives offered to allow students the chance to participate in experiential learning activities. Skills Ontario hosted Junk Drawer Races, an opportunity for students to participate in a virtual contest series to learn about opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies, as well as develop new skills. 11 TLDSB elementary schools participated in this provincial event.

Irwin Memorial Public School Grade 7/8 teacher, Luke Felhaber, said that his class approached the hydraulic crane project with enthusiasm, and were effectively able to problem-solve. “They were trying to figure things out for themselves instead of asking me for help.” They also approached the problem in different ways. Some did research online, some drew sketches, some drew on previous experience, while others experimented with hydraulics to come up with ideas. Felhaber recommends that teachers try experiential learning projects like this one, “It was great in terms of the amount of learning, talking, problem-solving, and real-world engineering.”

Huntsville Public School Grade 7/8 teacher, Jillian Major, said that sometimes roadblocks provided great learning opportunities for her students, “Some groups discovered that their design wasn’t functional when they actually created their hydraulic crane, while other teams found that their design would have worked really well but was challenging to build.” These roadblocks led to students working hard to overcome the challenges, and the perseverance paid off. She also said, “Sometimes we hesitate to try something new. If you’re feeling hesitant to start, my best advice would be to just go for it and see what happens. Everything we do in education is a learning experience.”

NetworkingThe importance of networking for co-op and apprenticeships

While cooperative education (co-op) teachers do their best to find good placements for their students, some of the most successful
co-op placements are arranged by the students themselves.

An excellent example of the networking initiative is the co-op placement found by Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI) student, Cole Sedgwick. Sedgwick connected with Matt Suggitt of Certified Aerial Solutions Limited to arrange a placement opportunity. Suggitt is a friend of the Sedgwick family, and conversations about the opportunities in this trade led to Sedgwick arranging his co-op placement with Suffit’s company.

Certified Aerial Solutions provides the services of a highly trained Utility Fleet Mechanic to inspect and repair utility fleet vehicles, such as bucket trucks, aerial lifts, and augers. Since utilities deal with electrical repairs, the mechanics also have to understand and factor in electrical theory – it is very important work as it keeps utility workers safe.

For Sedgwick, the most interesting aspect of this work is that he is regularly working on new pieces of equipment and learning something new.

Suggitt has been doing this work for 25 years. His pathway to becoming a utility fleet mechanic involved training in hydraulics, mechanical, electrical, structural, and pneumatics. Suggitt was happy to take Sedgwick as a co-op student because of his eagerness to work with tools and learn a trade. He feels that Sedwick is a great kid and he wants to see him succeed.

After graduating in June, Sedgwick will be continuing his apprenticeship at Certified Aerial Solutions.

LCVI Home HardwareLCVI forms partnerships with Lindsay Home Hardware for students to build sheds

On January 31, the first of five sheds produced by the Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI) Grade 12 construction class were shipped off to the Lindsay Home Hardware store.

Back in October 2021, LCVI formed a partnership with the store. The owner offered to provide the school with all supplies in order for the students to build sheds. In return, the store would pick up the sheds and sell them.

“This is a great opportunity for students to build something full scale with materials that are used in everyday construction,” said LCVI construction teacher, Shawn Schryer.

Building these sheds was a great learning experience for me,” said LCVI student, Jacob Vernon. “I was able to learn and understand all the components of building a basic structure.”

Registered Training Agreement – Next Steps
June 1

*Mandatory session for any graduating student with a signed Registered Training Agreement (RTA).

This virtual information session is hosted by the TLDSB Pathways consultant in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development to review the next steps for students with a signed RTA.

To register, complete the Public Information Session Registration Form.

Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP)

On February 9, the TLDSB Pathways team held a virtual information session to educate attendees about OYAP, a school to work transition program, and the Apprenticeship pathway.

OYAP Catapult Challenge – Spring 2022

TLDSB students in Grades 7 and 8 participated in an initiative offered by the Board’s Pathways Team, and supported by OYAP. Students built catapults and competed to see how far they could launch hacky sacks, all while they explored the benefits of the skilled trades.

OYAP Level 1 Accelerated Program

On March 23, TLDSB Pathways consultant hosted an information session to educate attendees about OYAP Level 1 Accelerated, which provides a unique opportunity for students to earn a spot in trade school in their final semester of high school.

Jamie McMillan, Ironworker

During the week of March 7-11, TLDSB offered virtual opportunities for students to engage with KickAss Careers co-founder, Jamie McMillian, as they explored careers in the skilled trades.

Passions to Pathways Session 2

On April 1, approximately 1,650 Grade 7 and 8 students gathered virtually to hear from a panel of past and present TLDSB students who explained their decisions as they pursued various pathways. Also contributing to the session were Huntsville High School guidance counselor, Nico Byl and TLDSB Pathways consultant, Kelly Neumann.

Make Stuff Move – Spring 2022

Grade 7 and 8 classes who have signed up for the Make Stuff Move sessions with the TLDSB experiential learning consultant have been enjoying hands-on opportunities to build various things that move – all by themselves! Students have constructed analog metres, inchworms, and catapults controlled by arduino boards and servo motors.

Emma Sinclair-CarrEmma Sinclair-Carr Early Childhood Educator

This month, we will be highlighting Emma Sinclair-Carr, who is a TLDSB graduate and now an Early Childhood Educator (ECE).

Question and answer with Sinclair-Carr:

Question: What interests you about child development and why did you choose that co-op?

Sinclair-Carr: I love children and I’ve always babysat. I’ve always wanted to be an Early Childhood Educator. Children have an innocence; they are sweet, pure, they have no filter. Co-op provides real-life experiences. So I decided that I would do my co-op working with children at a daycare. I learned that I have positivity, patience, and good inferencing skills, which is important, because kids won’t tell you exactly what they need.

Question: Do you feel that dual credit and co-op helped you get accepted into college?

Sinclair-Carr: Yes, 100 per cent. I got extra co-op credits, so that’s why I was able to graduate early, and I would recommend co-op and dual credits to anyone. It was nice to try a college course so I knew I would do well in college. For my dual credit I needed to take a family studies course, so I took Across the Lifespan – it taught me everything I needed to know about development. I learned about everything going through the mind of someone – from birth to death. It really helped me. It helps you put yourself in the position of the child to see what they are feeling. It was also great getting to learn how to use a different online platform.

Question: What do you want others to know about how you got here and where you’re going? What is one piece of advice that you would give a current student?

Sinclair-Carr: Talk to your teachers. They have lots of answers. If you don’t know something, they are the best place to go. Also, co-op makes everything easier. I recommend it to absolutely everyone. If you love what you’re doing, it’s so easy. Co-op gives you real life experiences and you’re getting your high school credits, and especially if it is a trade you’re getting OYAP hours too. It’s just a great way to get everything done.

Edition #3 - Winter 2022

The #StartMeUp campaign continues to reach students, parents/guardians, and community members to increase awareness of opportunities and pathways available to students in the area of skilled trades and apprenticeships. Please visit the Pathways and Programs website for more information.

Co-operative educationFrom co-op to apprenticeship

Cooperative education (co-op) has many benefits, such as building employability skills, trying out a possible career interest, engaging in hands-on learning, gaining experience, and improving your resume. For some, it also has the advantage of leading to an apprenticeship! Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute (LCVI) Grade 12 student, Kaden Coombs, is a great example. Coombs has been participating in a co-op placement at Mariposa Electric in Lindsay, where he has flourished and is enjoying working in the electrical trade. Coombs was recently offered the chance to continue with the company as an electrical apprentice (309A).

To help bridge into a future electrical apprenticeship, Coombs and his employer have both signed a Registered Training Agreement. Co-op hours completed in secondary school may count towards his electrical apprenticeship and he is on the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development list to attend trade school after graduation.

A powerful experienceA powerful experience

Fenelon Falls Secondary School (FFSS) student, Kristina Power, has always had a knack for brightening peoples’ day, but did not anticipate that she would be able to earn secondary school and college credits at the same time.

Power began her secondary school cooperative education (co-op) course with an interest in contributing to her community by learning more about the skilled trade of cooking. This interest led her to a placement with local community partner, Community Care Kitchen in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

In her student co-op role, Power assisted with the preparation and delivery of nutritious meals for seniors and adults with special needs in the community. She quickly developed her knowledge and skills under the supervision of qualified kitchen staff. Power learned important lessons about food safety and preparation, and tried her hand at preparing a variety of hearty dishes from soups, stews, and poultry, to tasty desserts.

Care Kitchen Food Services supervisor, Teri Wentworth, noted what an excellent addition Power made to the team, “Kristina is an extremely hard-working young woman and is an asset and shining light to your program.”

Power was inspired to further her studies by enrolling in Trillium Lakelands District School Board’s Cooking Fundamentals Dual Credit program, where she received weekly instruction from a college instructor/chef and earned both a high school and a college credit, at the same time.

Dual creditsDual credits in TLDSB

Semester 1 of the 2021-2022 school year welcomed the return of in-person dual credit courses, team-taught and college-delivered, offered by Fleming College and Georgian College. A range of courses were offered in the program areas of manicure, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, culinary, Indigenous studies, and criminology.

Students in the City of Kawartha Lakes (CKL) had the opportunity to participate in a new dual credit course, Cooking Fundamentals for the Trades, delivered by Fleming College, hosted at IE Weldon Secondary School.

For many students, dual credits provide a learning opportunity that is not offered in their secondary school. This new course gave students the opportunity to explore cuisines from various cultures; develop team-work, communication, and problem solving skills; and express creativity through meal planning.

Cooking is just one of the skilled trades students can learn at college and pursue through an apprenticeship. Dual credits provide amazing opportunities for students to try out a trade, find their passion, gain transferable skills, help with the transition to post-secondary education, and explore potential careers.

Semester 2 course offerings can be found on the Dual Credit page on the TLDSB Pathways and Programs website. Students in the District of Muskoka, Haliburton County, and CKL who are in Grade 11 or 12, are college-capable, and interested in exploring post-secondary education can apply to participate in a dual credit by contacting their school guidance counselor or administrator.


20 students from Huntsville High School’s Construction Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program completed their Elevated Platform Certification on Wednesday, December 1. All SHSM students need to complete a variety of compulsory and elective certifications.

Public Information Sessions 2021-2022

Held virtually each month

Learn more about the many programs and experiential learning opportunities available to students. See the Public Information Sessions Poster for topics and dates.

OYAP Catapult Challenge – Spring 2022

TLDSB students in Grades 7 and 8 will participate in an initiative offered by the Board’s Pathways Team, and supported by the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP). Students will build catapults, and compete to see how far they can launch hacky sacks, all while they explore the benefits of the skilled trades.

Jamie McMillan, Ironworker – March 2022

During the week of March 7-11, TLDSB will be offering virtual opportunities for students to engage with KickAss Careers co-founder, Jamie McMillan, as they explore careers in the skilled trades.

October and November – Support Ontario Youth Tools in the Trades Boot Camps

Support Ontario Youth visited secondary schools across TLDSB in October and November to give students a glimpse into a career in the skilled trades through the Tools in the Trades Boot Camp experience! Grade 12 students in a SHSM, OYAP, and/or co-op program could apply to participate. These experiences, among others, help students explore different career pathways. 

November 18 – Build a Dream

The TLDSB Pathways Team hosted a virtual event for students, educators, families, and the community, geared toward students in Grades 7 to 12. The focus of Build A Dream was to highlight opportunities to explore a wide range of career paths and give advice for career planning. 

December 2021 – OYAP Cardboard House Project

The TLDSB Pathways Team provided 1,200 Grade 5 and 6 students with an activity designed to introduce the skilled trades. Classes learned about several trades associated with home-building, and the soft skills required to be successful in those trades. Students finished their session by making houses out of cardboard in a fun-filled, interactive experience.

December 14 – Dr. Jon Callagher – 5 great reasons for a career in the trades

Grade 7 and 8 students heard from Dr. Callegher of Job Talks, who touched on the benefits of trades’ careers and highlighted worker satisfaction, health, job security, and work/life balance as keys that make skilled trades careers an excellent choice.

December 6 to 10 – Pathways to Passions Xello co-facilitated professional development sessions

The TLDSB Pathways Team presented virtual sessions that allowed approximately 1,400 Grade 7 and 8 students to investigate their passions and interests. Students learned how to use the online program, Xello and completed inventories to consider how their interests might align with various pathways, and how those pathways might lead into a variety of careers.

KenzieKenzie Gillan
Powerline technician

This month, we will be highlighting Kenzie Gillan. Gillan is a TLDSB graduate who is now a powerline technician.

TLDSB Spotlight Stories highlight past and/ or current TLDSB students, parents/guardians, and/or community partners on their journey in the skilled trades.

Questions and answers with Gillan

Question: Can you tell us about your post-secondary pathway and how it changed throughout your high school career?

Gillan: “Growing up I only saw university as the right pathway for me and the only real way to be successful. The longer I went through school the more I realized that I didn’t like sitting at a desk. I preferred to work with my hands and I really liked being outside. My dad encouraged me to look into the skilled trades. He told me at the time that some plumbers were earning more than doctors, so that kind of caught my attention. Scrolling through a bunch of college programs, I found a program called Powerline Technician. It was the right fit for me.”

Question: What is your favourite aspect of being a powerline technician?

Gillan: “What I love about it is that there is something different every day. Even with the short career I’ve had so far, it has brought me to so many interesting places. I’ve done so many amazing things and what I love is that all of the things I was told I couldn’t do as a kid, I’m now getting paid to do as an adult. Growing up, my parents were always afraid of me getting injured. I did ice water rescue training last week. I wanted to do a polar bear swim when I was a kid. I just got paid to go do one. Even just to get to my job I need to learn how to drive a snowmobile. It’s just incredible – all the stuff that goes with the trade that isn’t actually considered the trade.”

Question: What are the most important skills you need in your trade?

Gillan: “You definitely need to be able to work in a team environment. You need to be safety-conscious – that’s number one. You need to be willing to work outside. You don’t need to be the biggest or the tallest or strongest person on the jobsite but you need to be able to get the job done safely. And you need to be good with heights.”

Question: What is one piece of advice you would give a current student about getting involved in skilled trades?

Gillan: “Definitely don’t let anyone talk you out of it, or any career path if it’s what you want to be doing. When researching the trade, I found a group of women powerline technicians who gave me a bunch of confidence to continue to pursue it. I found some great mentors to help me along the way. So whatever it is that you want to do, do not let anyone talk you out of it. Just do your research, understand what you are getting into and be true to yourself.”

Edition #2 – Fall 2021

Let’s kick off the 2021-2022 school year!

The #StartMeUp campaign brings knowledge and awareness of the opportunities and pathways that are available to students, specifically in the area of skilled trades and apprenticeships. In this second edition newsletter, we will reflect on past successes, as well as look at the exciting activities, programs, events, and opportunities that will be happening this school year. Please visit the Pathways and Programs website for more information.

Technology Introduction to Technology provides so much more than a path to a successful career

Program highlights pic 1We’ve seen an increase in Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) students are choosing Take Tech. The Grade 9 Exploring Technology course provides students with engaging opportunities to learn about key skills needed for success in a number of sectors, including construction, transportation, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, and information technology.

For Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School Grade 12 student Teghan McIntyre, working in the trades is a common choice in her family. While taking Exploring Tech, McIntyre enjoyed all the new things she got to try, with her favourite part being when she learned about framing. McIntyre has decided to pursue a General Carpentry Apprenticeship. She says, “If I get paid to do something therapeutic for the rest of my life while making lots of money, I may as well go for it.”

For teachers, it is a very positive experience. TLDSB Technology teacher, Mark Flynn, thinks these courses are key to teaching students basic life skills, “Every student needs to feel comfortable changing a tire, swinging a hammer, hanging a level picture or cooking a healthy meal.”

Co-operative Summer Cooperative Education provides opportunities for learning important new skills

Program highlights pic 2For Len and Karen Heise of Legendary Log Homes, hiring summer cooperative education students is a key to the business’ success. The Bobcaygeon-area builders have been married for almost 50 years and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down in business.

Their team this past summer consisted of four local high school students whose job was to install weatherdeck membranes to protect horizontal surfaces, like decks. They love to employ students, as they are usually enthusiastic.

“They don’t arrive with preconceived ideas or habits,” said Heise. They love the fact that students learn everything from teamwork, to job costing and accounting, to business ethics.

In the past two summers, I. E. Weldon Secondary School student Abby Dillon, has become an expert welder during her time with Legendary Log Homes. Although her career path will likely take her into the healthcare field, she reports her experience was an important one.

“I feel like if I didn’t have the opportunity, I wouldn’t have learned how to become a good problem solver,” Dillon stated.

Fenelon Falls Secondary School student Sam Jenkinson, loved not only the variety of skills that he learned, but the beautiful locations where he got to learn those skills. He has decided to pursue a career in the skilled trades, and is looking forward to learning as much as he can, to make the best choices.

Public Information Sessions 2021-2022

Held virtually each month

Learn more about the many programs and experiential learning opportunities available to students. See the Public Information Sessions Poster for topics and dates.

Build A Dream – November 18 at 6 p.m.

Join #DreamBig TLDSB for a virtual career discovery expo with a focus on careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), skilled trades, emergency response, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Stay tuned for more information!

September 14 – Dual Credit Program Information Session

TLDSB Pathways consultant, Kelly Neumann, explained the School-College-Work initiative, and how funding from this initiative is used to provide the Dual Credit Program.

September 28 – 5 great reasons for a career in the trades

Dr. Jon Callegher of Job Talks touched on the benefits of trades careers and highlighted worker satisfaction, health, job security, and work/life balance as keys that make skilled trades careers an excellent choice. 

October 6 – Specialist High Skills Major Information Session

Beanstalk Project Founder Joel Hilchey was a special guest and explained that the purpose of SHSM is to provide students pursuing all pathways with the opportunity to identify, explore, and refine their career goals.

Teresa Beggs
Level 1 OYAP Plumbing

This month, we will be highlighting Teresa Beggs. Beggs is a retired TLDSB teacher and the mother of Bryan Beggs, a TLDSB graduate who is now a plumber.

TLDSB Spotlight Stories highlight past and/ or current TLDSB students, parents/guardians, and/or community partners on their journey in the skilled trades.

Questions and answers with Teresa and Bryan Beggs

Question: Bryan participated in the OYAP Accelerated Level 1 program at Fenelon Falls Secondary School. Can you explain what he did in that program and how you feel it helped him get to where he is today?

Teresa: “It’s a fabulous opportunity. In his last semester of Grade 12, Bryan was taking a co-op placement for credit with Mike Anderson Plumbing for three days a week. The other two days a week he was picked up at the high school in Fenelon and taken down to Durham College, where he completed courses for his Level 1 Trade school. By the age of 22, he was a fully licensed plumber.”

Question: As a parent, what advice would you have for another parent/guardian of a student choosing a pathway?

Teresa: “The hardest part, I believe (and Bryan didn’t have this), is finding someone that will offer you an apprenticeship — that’s the big challenge. You have to be reliable and a good employee; you have to show that it’s worth their time to put that effort into you. There has to be a sense that you’re going to stick with them, too. I would say absolutely, if your child wants to go there, but know that there’s a lot of responsibility to being an apprentice, and that’s making sure that they appreciate the opportunity, because it’s an absolute gift of an opportunity to be an apprentice.”

Question: What was the most interesting or biggest thing you learned with your son entering the apprenticeship pathway?

Teresa: “The funding, for sure. The government is very supportive of people going into the trades right now, so the money that they get at the end of it (after graduation) is significant. Apprentices are earning money all along, but they also get unemployment (employment insurance) while they’re at school for the eight weeks. Bryan chose to drive down so he got mileage, but even if they rented down there for the eight weeks, they get money for that as well. So they’re very supportive of the apprenticeship entry program.”

Question: What is one piece of advice you would give current students about getting involved in the skilled trades?

Bryan: “I succeeded in trade skills by focusing on learning, being reliable, and learning. And because of this, I was able to buy a farm at the age of 22, as I did not have huge student debt. Therefore, I would tell a future student to find an apprenticeship by being reliable, motivated, and be willing to learn. As a result, you will love your job!”

#StartMeUp Mailing List

Are you interested in learning more about TLDSB pathways and programs, future skilled trades opportunities, events, and/or initiatives? If so, complete the #StartMeUp Mailing List Form to be put on our mailing list.

Contat information

If you have any questions about the #StartMeUp campaign, please email [email protected], or contact your secondary school directly.

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