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Show set to bolster trade jobs

Exhibitors to include employers, unions, schools

TOOL GIRL: Mag Ruffman is set to speak at the Building and Construction Trades Showcase at Vellore Village Nov. 22. (Courtesy

A high schooler searching out life’s possibilities? A professional considering a career switch? A new immigrant looking to share in the Canadian Dream?

No matter who you are, a visit to Vellore Village Community Centre Nov. 22 might change your life for the better.

The York South Simcoe Training and Adjustment Board, along with Seneca College Employment Services and Employment Ontario, is set to host its first Building and Construction Trades Showcase from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“It’s to raise awareness about the viable careers that are in this sector,” the board’s project manager Tina Stevens said Monday.

Roughly 30 exhibitors from various aspects of the building and construction industry — including employers, unions, training centres, colleges and government — will be on hand at the free event to help anyone thinking about a career in the trades.

One of the goals of the showcase, Stevens said, is to help dispel the persistent bad rap the trades still receive.

“The myth still exists for many parents that a trade is a second choice, (that) it’s for kids that couldn’t make it in school, when in fact that’s not true,” she said. “With new immigrants, a lot of parents will say: ‘I didn’t come here so you can be a —. You’re going to be a lawyer or a doctor or an engineer.’

“So it’s trying to raise awareness about the validity of the careers that are available in the trades, the rewarding careers and the incomes that can be earned.”

Two special guests are scheduled to speak: Olympic kayaker and medalist Adam Van Koeverden and home improvement TV star Mag (Tool Girl) Ruffman.

“I just want to encourage people to consider, if they have a three-dimensional aptitude and a non-conforming type of personality, to check out the trades,” Ruffman said Tuesday. “There are so many opportunities for entrepreneurial instincts in this line of work.

“It’s such a fun way to carve out your own niche.”

Ruffman said she’ll only speak for about ten minutes, but will be around to answer questions for two hours.

“I would love people to just come and ask me their boldest questions, whatever it is that’s bugging them about what might lie ahead for them,” Ruffman said. “I’d just love to hear what their reservations might be and maybe hopefully address those.”

Van Koeverden will discuss the challenges and opportunities of making a mid-course correction, Stevens said.

“(He) is going to talk about his experience at this last Olympics where he was not so successful in his very first race and had to rethink, get back in the zone and set his own personal goals to go after what it was he wanted to achieve in his second race,” she said. “He’s then going to relate that back to someone who is having to start over again in a second career, or is making that decision or has been forced to do that due to the economy, or a new immigrant that’s come to this country and has discovered that they can’t pursue a career in the occupation that they originally thought.”

The first 500 people at the showcase will receive a CD with information about 38 occupations in the building and construction industry. With it, prospective tradespeople can find answers on how to get started, what training is required, what the job market holds and how much money can be earned in York Region.

“If you can be yourself,” Ruffman said, “if you can find something to do with yourself that allows you to be yourself, you’re gold.”

Vaughan Today
In print: November 21, 2008, page 7
Online: November 21, 2008 [link]