“There are tons of ways that we can support these students, and I just wanted to make sure they were fully aware of all of them,” explains Jennifer Parrington, Technological Education Facilitator, and the person behind the innovative idea.
To launch the 2018-2019 Student Success Calendar of Events for Young Women and Men in Technological Education (Tech Ed), Parrington along with Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) Facilitator Denise Stirton, and Community Connected Experiential Learning Facilitator Jennette Walton, decided to use a three-pronged approach.
With the help of Aaron Peterson, Media Facilitator, they created a video, a calendar, and a survey that could all be accessed through one link. The link was sent out to all Tech Ed teachers within the Durham District School Board (DDSB) in September.
The video – featuring Parrington, Stirton, and Walton – highlights how students can get involved in the Skilled Trades, OYAP, and Tech Ed opportunities. “There’s a huge focus on promoting women in the trades, but certainly not at the exclusion of men,” says Parrington. “That was my intent, that we needed to show these young women that there are amazing opportunities, and give them an idea what the end career could look like.”
The calendar offers events, opportunities, activities, and competitions throughout the entire school year. Parrington notes that creating a full year calendar of events was very important to her, “They can go ‘we’re interested in this activity,’ or ‘OYAP interviews are coming up here,’ and can really see what their opportunities in skilled trades are, for both men and women.”
The survey – created using Google Forms – was added as a method to track the type of audience, classroom interests, and other key data. “We want to reach the students based on what their interests are,” says Parrington. She notes that unfortunately most events have an attendee limit so she cannot invite every school. This way, she can send out invitations to classes or schools that show the most interest in an upcoming event. As an added bonus, the Tech Ed classes that completed the survey are set to receive class prizes and tools including tool belts, high-quality hammers, measuring tools, and more.
On the day of the launch they reached 40 classes and 847 students. Of the 40 classes, 30 per cent identified as female, and 70 per cent identified as male.
Parrington says she wanted to reach as many young women and men as possible to ignite their learning and interests. “I wanted to provide them with an idea of all the opportunities in the entire school year. I also wanted to provide a forum for conversation and invite feedback of interest and further learning, and to demonstrate that the skilled trades are great pathways/careers for everyone.”
Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9S3yUu6T8N4&feature=youtu.be
By Sarah Racioppa