98 The Beach

98 The Beach

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Locals Recognized For Training Youth In Trades

Owen Sound/Port Elgin | by Bayshore News Staff  

A Saugeen Shores teacher and an Owen Sound electrician are crafting the next generation of tradespeople.

Two local men have been recognized for their mentorship of local students who are interested in the skilled trades.

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) has announced this year's Barbara Wright Award winners.

The 2018 Mentor in Education has been awarded to Bud Halpin, Construction Technology Teacher at Saugeen District Secondary School (SDSS) in Port Elgin.  

For several years, Halpin has run an off-site construction program where students can immerse themselves in the trades while working with different community partners.  

Projects have included a workshop at Southampton Cemetery, pavilions at Fairy Lake and Coulter Park, an outside classroom at Port Elgin-Saugeen Central School, a school house at Grey Roots Museum and Archives, accessible boardwalks for the beach, and a Habitat for Humanity project, among others.  

Halpin has also developed a Specialist High Skills Major program for SDSS in Construction.  

The 2018 Mentor From The Community has been awarded to Richard LeBlanc, owner of Dunn's Electric in Owen Sound.  

Over the past 15 years, LeBlanc has been a supporter of apprenticeships and cooperative education in the Owen Sound area, providing co-op experiences for about 25 students and hiring at least five of them.  "It's gives kids the chance to see 'Is this for me or not?' So that's why I truly love the program," says LeBlanc.

He notes says some of them have gone on to start careers, "We've had two now from the program that have actually started thier own business in electrical."

LeBlanc says he's a big fan of the program as there is a generation of workers who will soon retire, "The amount of older electricians we're losing...we need the young kids in the trades."

The annual award is named after former OYAP Coordinator/Facilitator Barbara Wright, a longtime advocate and passionate supporter of skilled trades related programs for students in Grey Bruce. 

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