This is an article written by a student about their experience in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) offered by the York Catholic District School Board.
My name is Michael D'Andrea and I am a student at St. Joan of Arc CHS in Maple.
I thought long and hard about how I wanted to use my brains and my hands to work in my favourite place - a construction site! When I was a kid, my dad would take me to work with him in the summer and on weekends. It was my favourite part of growing up. I knew I didn't want to work in an office or a bank. I didn't want to be a salesman either. I wanted to be outdoors doing challenging, well-paying work, and be part of a team of professionals that make blueprints and plans become reality.
When I got to high school and found out about OYAP, I couldn't believe my good fortune. I visited the open houses at the College of Carpentry and Allied Trades as well as the Ontario Masonry Training Centre. Both schools offered accelerated level one courses that I could take along with a co-op course in Grade 12.
It was a tough decision but in the end I chose the masonry school. I attended for 10 weeks and it was absolutely the best experience possible for me. I learned so much in a short time and was taken to work at the Future Building event in Toronto. That was a big' trade experience' day for grade school students where they got to try out some of the trade skills. I helped hundreds of students lay bricks for a whole day, and ended up learning a lot myself. Maybe some day I'll be a teacher at the masonry school.
After 3 weeks at the school, I was offered a job for the summer and I've started already. I cannot believe how my life has turned around so fast. Sometimes it seems like a dream.
Thank you OYAP and all the teachers who helped make it all possible.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a School to Work program that opens the door for students to explore and work in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through a high school’s Co-operative Education program.
Students have an opportunity to become registered apprentices and work towards becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade while completing their secondary school diplomas.