Twenty-six students from across the Prairie South School Division (PSSD) visited with instructors and industry representatives in the Sask Polytech Moose Jaw carpentry department on June 5 for ‘Think Construction 2024’. 

“So, this is the first time in four years — since COVID — that we’ve been able to reform our partnerships,” explained Brett Young, a career development consultant at PSSD.  

“Today we’re having Think Construction, in our partnership with Sask Polytechnic and the Moose Jaw Construction Association, with All N All Construction, as well. 

“We brought 26 students to Sask Polytechnic to learn about the industries in construction and empowering their choices as they’re getting closer to graduation and deciding what career path they’re going to go down.” 

Other sponsors of the event included Saskatchewan Construction Association, Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association, and C&S Builders. 

Young said that each of the students present for the day (it ran from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) had expressed an interest in learning about the construction trades. Most of the group were in grades 10 and 11, with a few grade 12 students in the mix. 

“We have students from Avonlea, we have students from Peacock, we have students from Mortlach, and all over rural Prairie South.” 

Students engaged with carpentry instructors in small groups for projects including building a small shed, putting together a toolbox with industrial power tools, mentorship chats about the different career paths in construction, and more. 

“(We’re) just giving them a taste of what trades is all about and what the training looks like while they’re here, giving them an idea of what to expect if they were to come to Sask Polytech and take one of our programs,” explained Cory Mohr, program head of the carpentry department. 

Mohr got his own start in the trades industry right out of high school. After nine years, he became an instructor, and eight years after that he reached his current position. 

“It is tough, most trades have a pretty wide variety of components to them, so to try and give (the high schoolers) a full idea of what each trade could involve, in such a short time, is difficult,” Mohr added. 

“Not to mention, we’ve got three trades here to demo today, out of quite a lot of possibilities. So, I think what we want to do is just open their eyes to what is available and give them the tools to explore more and discover what they might be interested in.” 

There are many current opportunities in Saskatchewan’s construction industry, from electricians to plumbers to business owners. The industry accounts for more than 52,000 people employed across the province and continues to expand. 

Kam Loptson is a grade 10 student at Peacock who said the experience helped him narrow down what he is interested in. 

“I really found the electrical part of it really interesting,” he said. “You can make so many things work just by connecting wires together and it’s part of construction. 

“It makes me want to take more math classes and like, be able to have all the classes I need in order to go to trades school and do well.”