Durham College hosts Skills Ontario summer camp to spark interest in the skilled trades for local youth

From August 15 to 19, Durham College’s (DC) Whitby campus hosted 18 very special guests, who spent the week exploring future career opportunities available in the skilled trades. The summer camp was hosted by Skills Ontario and provided campers with several hands-on activities in each of DC’s skilled trades programs – including an off-site tour of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a long-standing community partner and donor of the college. Skills Ontario has been providing programs like this for students in Grades 7 to 9 for over 30 years, with an intention to inspire youth to explore skilled trades and technologies. This is the first summer since 2019 that the camp has been able to run in-person.

“We’re thrilled to bring back our popular summer camps program,” says Ian Howcroft, chief executive officer, Skills Ontario. “It is crucial for youth to not only explore opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies, but also to build their skills for the workforce and consider what career path is right for them.”

Supported by experiential learning opportunities – a concept that is deeply embedded in many of DC’s programs – campers learned about the many career paths available in the skilled trades and technology fields. Daily camp activities were led by Skills Ontario staff and DC employees, and featured interactive activities and competitions, including: virtual reality welding, building birdhouses in the carpentry shop, learning hoisting and drilling techniques, creating tasty treats while learning about DC’s Field to Fork philosophy, using plumbing skills and materials to build hula hoops, as well as a Co2 Dragster car assembly and performance race.

“I had the pleasure of visiting the camp and was very impressed with each camper’s enthusiasm and pride for their work. I’m pleased to see youth taking such interest in the skilled trades and having the ability to experience the state-of-the-art facility we have at our Whitby campus,” said Don Lovisa, president, Durham College. “I’m grateful for the work Skills Ontario provides young people and I’m sure this will be the beginning of a lifelong passion of learning for the campers and foster DC’s relationship with them all as future leaders in our community.”

DC’s Whitby campus is leading the way in skilled trades and technology education. It spans over 350,000 square feet in state-of-the-art learning spaces, including the newly opened Ontario Power Generation Centre for Skilled Trades and Technology, which features a double-height shop lab, new classrooms and student touchdown spaces. The campus also includes the W. Galen Weston Centre for Food, which is home to the award-winning full-service restaurant, Bistro ’67; retail store, Pantry, and the Barrett Centre of Innovation in Sustainable Urban Agriculture and its community-inspired urban farm.

DC is proud to partner with Skills Ontario in an effort to introduce youth in the Durham Region to the many skilled trades professions while also helping them develop communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills. Skills Ontario summer camps are sponsored by the Government of Ontario and Magna. For further information on future camps, please visit their website.

*photo credit Skills Ontario