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EDSS celebrates 15 years of partnering with HRAI

A 15-year partnership between EDSS and a trades group was something to celebrate at the Elmira high school.

The occasion was marked with certificates for members of the Heating, Refrigeration and  Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI) of Canada’s Waterloo Wellington chapter and the Waterloo Region District School Board.

The partnership between the organizations began in 2004 when a new gas-fitter lab was installed at Elmira District Secondary School, the WRDSB and the HRAI-WW chapter providing a retrofit of the lab. Following the lab’s creation, a Construction Technology – HVAC course was launched at EDSS.

“We were involved as a chapter in helping them set up the lab: we provided labour, help, materials, and equipment for the lab,” said Brad Mavin of Conestoga Mechanical. “We’ve been supporting them ever since, so we donate some money to them every year.

“Specifically for their program because we feel that program is quite important to our industry. Our goals are to encourage young people to consider the trades – not just the heating trades but any trade.”

This lab has provided valuable experience for students, giving them real-job learning experiences. HRAI donates some $1,500 to EDSS annually for various endeavours related to the program, such as keeping materials – dampers, actuators and the like – in the lab up-to-date.

Mavin added that it’s essential for students to understand that the trades are an option for a future career path, and to get the opportunity to try it out for themselves.

“All of the folks that are involved at the high school level and even primary school level, all of those folks come from academia. They don’t consider the trades,” said Mavin.

“For the most part, all the people that the young folks are associated with come from academia and they think that’s where everybody should be headed. The key is to get to them as young as possible to make sure that they’re aware that the opportunity is there for them.”

EDSS teacher Randy Dyck noted that it is an excellent space for students to learn. For example, much of the preparation for the Skills Canada competition is done in this lab.

“Each of these things that the young people are learning, they’re very industry-standard and very much in line with today’s technology,” said Dyck. “Albeit at a very introductory level, but at least the young people can come away better equipped with what it would take, let’s say to be involved in experiential learning, such as co-op.”

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