Counsellors experience hands-on learning at OSCA

Career Colleges Ontario is pleased to have, once again, been the platinum sponsor of the Ontario School counsellors Association's annual conference. The event took place November 8 to 10 and drew a crowd of counsellors and education professionals from across the world.

This year's event, which presented the often overlooked opportunities in Trades, provided students with the opportunity to showcase their hands-on skills they’ve learned at college.

From videogame design to welding, students eagerly showed off their skills to a dense crowd of educators and counsellors. When not perusing the atrium filled with CNC machines and the latest tech gadgets—which included a presentation of student made games while wearing virtual reality goggles or the chance to see a solar panel constructed before their eyes—counsellors attended Trades workshops to gain information to convey to their students.  

HGTV television host, Bryan Baeumler—a revered carpenter—spoke to the demand for qualified workers.

“Trade is in demand right now,” said Baeumler. “From engineers, to carpenters, to electrician, plumbers, you name it—if it’s a trade, it’s in demand,” he said in an interview following his talk.

Baeumler stressed that students need to find a balance between their practical knowledge and the skills of those around them.

“I think an ideal college would provide the technical aspects of education—the book smarts, the theory—but also some real world experience, something hands-on,” he said.  “[But] just because you’re in one specific trade, you still need to learn about everything around you.”

Career Colleges Ontario praised the efforts of counsellors to educate themselves about alternative career pathways.

“Career colleges are an alternative, and they’re part of the post-secondary educational system. It doesn’t mean that every career college is meant for every student, just as every university or every community college isn’t necessarily meant for every student,” said the CEO of Career Colleges Ontario, Sharon Maloney.

“What does matter is that counsellors are aware of the options and are able to assess what’s in the best interest of their students,” she added.

CCO also played an active role informing educators.  The association hosted a workshop to inform educators of the advantages career colleges offer to students, such as small class sizes, accelerated training, and frequent student enrolment periods.   

“Career colleges deliver more than 4,400 high quality postsecondary programs of study,” said CCO Executive Director, Paul Kitchin. “My goal was to provide counsellors with valuable tips on how to find the career college and program that best meet the needs of their students.”

The conference provided educators—some with decades of experience—with a fresh perspective on the Trades and career colleges.

“I’ve had a chance to go through most of the exhibitors, and it’s unreal,” exclaimed Brigitte Sharp-Menard, a board lead from the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, which is a French board in Ottawa.

“There’s so much information that’s out there that I didn’t know—and I’ve been a teacher for 28 years. “







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