“I came to Arthur Voaden specifically to be part of this program” Melissa, student in the Arts and Culture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program.
Arthur Voaden is home to 4 Specialist High Skills Major programs: Arts and Culture, Construction, Transportation, and Tourism and Hospitality.
Arts and Culture SHSM
Shelby is in the Arts and Culture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program focusing on hairstyling and esthetics.
Currently Shelby is in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and taking the dual credit program at Lambton College. Her passion for hairstyling started when she was young, from cutting Barbie’s hair to practicing on her friends and family. “The best part of this program is it allows me to be creative and part of the arts sector,” Shelby stated.
Shelby talked about her co-op placement in the field “it teaches you about the job field you want to go into…it provided training on what to do and what to expect...how to treat a client.”
Shelby takes her career training seriously, she competed in Skills Ontario on the local level, winning first place and moving on to represent the Thames Valley District School Board at the Provincial level challenge in May.
Melissa’s story is different “I came to Arthur Voaden specifically to be part of this program…I am currently in a level 1 Apprenticeship and the dual credit program at Lambton College.” Melissa commented on her real world experience through her co-op placement “I learned about what goes on behind the scenes…running a salon… customer service skills…how to provide the best service to the client.” Melissa shared her plans for her future, she would like to spend six months on a cruise ship as a hairstylist on board!
Marnie Wolfe, Student Teacher from Western University, “SHSM gives students a focus….gets them ready for the workforce by opening the doors to any of the four pathways, Apprenticeship, College, University or Work. The students learn about how their skills apply to theatre by working on hair and make up in the Hounds of Baskerville and Dream Girls productions.”
Employers are a key part of the SHSM programs, providing students with the opportunity to see what the career looks like in action, while students have a chance to learn about the skill sets and what works for their future career choices.
New to Arthur Voaden is the Construction SHSM
Mike Pelton, Tech/Construction Teacher “ we like to be progressive and have industry drive what we are doing…learning what we can do to prepare students for careers in skilled trades.” Mike commented on how important it is to have relationships and collaborations with business in the community. The St. Thomas Home Builders’ Association as well as other skilled tradespersons have supported this program.
“ We are looking to close the gap from high school to choosing a smart career path…there are many potential careers in tech /construction. We just built a mock house with two baths and kitchens for students to learn about plumbing, electrical and HVAC,” Mike shared.
Donny student in the Tech class “I like construction, building things…I helped my Grandpa build a shed…I plan on focusing on plumbing.”
The Tech/Construction class supports community projects from designing and building a trebuchet which catapults pumpkins for Talbotville Berry Farm, building a bridge, flower boxes for downtown St. Thomas and props for the theatre productions.
“In grade 10, I took a mechanical engine apart, now I am part of the Transportation SHSM…I like finishing something and seeing it running” Stan SHSM Transportation Student. “In the future I see my path as a General Mechanic, Diesel Mechanic or a Heavy Machinery Mechanic, this came about after touring Fanshawe College’s new Centre for Applied Transportation Technology…it opened the doors for me from working on light mechanics to farm, aviation and heavy machinery. What advice would I give a grade 9 student about the program “work hard and jump on and try to get in the program, you get certifications, field trips and tons of experiences, you are more employable,” Stan.
Dave Tenhor Transportation “students work with the latest technology, using up to date equipment, receiving certifications, learning about safety in the shop and to being aware of their environment, all these improve students employability.”
Hospitality and Tourism SHSM
Mieke commented on what she got out of the program, “I learned to prepare from scratch…was taught methods you can use everyday”. Chris’s future plans are “to open a restaurant/bakery”. Students found that the program opens the doors to employment in a top end restaurant. They are interested in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program to achieve their goals. The SHSM students, prep and cook meals for the cafeteria as well as provide catering services. Katherine talked about her experience “I have been accepted into the Hospitality and Tourism Program at Lambton College. I have learned so much… preparing meals at a certain time, scheduling to the needs of 50 residents at a time… ….this experience has made me more comfortable in cooking.”
Written by: Kathryn Tull
Youth Projects Manager/Passport to Prosperity
Workforce Planning and Development Board