Day of Discovery creates awareness for career opportunities in construction

Young people interested in a career in the construction industry recently took part in the BOLT Day of Discovery, co-hosted by Tridel and George Brown College in Toronto with the goal of creating awareness about the various career opportunities available in the construction industry.

The full-day event is held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.
“It’s open to any young person who might be interested in learning about opportunities in construction,” said Joanne Bin, executive director of BOLT (Building Opportunities for Life Today).
“We send out invites to all of the agencies throughout the city including Toronto Community Housing communities to register young people to attend the Day of Discovery. They are young people who would have an interest in construction and typically aren’t in school, education or training. They are looking for something but are not quite sure what they want but think they might be interested in construction.”
The goal of the BOLT program, according to the website, is to create awareness about the career opportunities in the construction industry by hosting events like the Day of Discovery and offering job shadowing opportunities; to raise funds to support scholarship and training opportunities for under-resourced youth wishing to pursue a training or post-secondary program in construction; and to foster trade and industry partnership to provide employment, training and mentorship opportunities for youth.
During the Day of Discovery, participants took a tour of George Brown College’s Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies at the Casa Loma campus in Toronto where they participated in a hands-on activity in the carpentry workshop and heard from instructors and college staff about programs and apprenticeship training. Those in attendance also heard from Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, before heading off to visit Tridel’s Avani Phase 2 site.
On the construction site, the group was divided into two smaller groups. One group toured the site and interacted with trades and management staff and the other group met four presenters from Tridel’s project management, customer care, safety and pre-inspection departments. After lunch, the groups switched.
“We also have our employees who also participate by sharing information about some of the jobs they do,” Bin explained. “They will talk about those careers that many young people aren’t even aware of and then they will also get to interact with the trades. They will do the site tour and they’ll talk to tradespeople that are actually working on the job.”
This year, 40 people attended the Day of Discovery, some of whom were high school students.
“They are all in construction programs and wanted the opportunity to tour a live construction site so we made that accommodation but typically we don’t take high school students,” Bin said.
“We like to take kids that are green and they don’t really know what they want to do and expose them to all the various careers that are available in construction, not just the trades, all the other jobs that are associated with construction.”
At the end of the Day of Discovery, those interested in learning more about construction are invited to apply for a job shadow which allows them to go on a jobsite for two weeks. Eighteen people signed up after this year’s event.
“They can’t work but they do shadow the different trades and they get to spend more time with them,” said Bin.
“They will also shadow our site staff — it could be the site superintendent, it could be a site coordinator or the safety person — to give them a full range of careers that are available in construction. We have a lot of our consultants who visit the sites while they are there so they get to interact with them as well. After they complete the two weeks, we sit down with them to see what they want to do.”
For those young people who want to work in the skilled trades, program organizers connect them to partners who provide skilled trades training programs.
For those interested in management opportunities, BOLT helps them explore post-secondary programs and financial awards and programs that are available to assist them.
“Our goal is to work with award recipients and help them get a job at the end of what they’ve been doing,” said Bin.