Honour the Work bringing successful program to Calgary elementary schools

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ontario-based Honour The Work is expanding the STEAMS Kit pilot program into elementary schools in Alberta next September, a partnership with the Calgary Construction Association.

“Both organizations have a shared goal of introducing diverse skilled trades careers to students at an age where they are already curious about the world of work and enjoy building and making things with their hands,” said Angela Coldwell, founder of Honour the Work. “By providing educators with the materials to perform trades activities that tie into their curriculum, they are supporting STEM education while providing a real-world context of how knowledge and skills are practically used.

The program targets elementary classes in an attempt to bridge the gap between education and workforce. Educators at the pilot schools are very excited for rollout this fall.”

“Through this partnership, we aspire to accomplish a generational shift in how careers in the construction industry are perceived and valued,” said Tammy Amstutz, Director of Workforce Strategies, Calgary Construction Association. “Our goals are multifold: to ignite a passion for hands-on learning among students, to challenge and change the preconceived notions held by parents about careers in construction, to empower educators with resources that bring the curriculum to life, and to engage and inspire underrepresented communities.

“By embedding the importance of skilled trades from an early age, we’re not just shaping future career choices; we’re fostering a culture that celebrates and recognizes the essential role these professions play in our society.”

Historically, in Ontario and Alberta, skilled trades advocacy occurs in high school, or perhaps in junior high.

“However, if we want to create a generational shift in the perception of these careers, we need to begin exposure in elementary school where we can light the spark in students, provide information to educators, and engage parents,” Amstutz said.

For Alberta, the partnership is an opportunity to elevate the perception of trades careers among young learners and to engage with a segment that has traditionally been overlooked in discussions about trades careers. This initiative is not merely a short-term endeavor but rather a sustainable shift towards recognizing and valuing skilled trades as essential and rewarding career paths.

“We’re so thrilled about the work Angela is doing, and we’re honoured to be a part of bringing that to Calgary,” Coldwell concluded.

The program, which includes turnkey STEAMS Kits, seeks to spark interest among young learners and challenge existing biases against careers in the construction industry from an early age. By doing so, it hopes to ensure a steady influx of passionate and skilled workers for Calgary’s future

Honour The Work also had an opportunity recently to present the program and facilitate a hands-on session at the Central Alberta Teacher’s Convention with participation from the Red Deer Construction Association.

Oatey donated 30 copies of The House That She Built to teachers. Books, such as this one, have the potential to inspire students to pursue diverse trades and AEC professions as children relate to the characters who look like members of their own community.

Currently, the challenges posed by labor shortages have impacted project timelines and a proactive approach through initiatives like Honour the Work, could cultivate a robust pipeline of skilled workers, ensuring the timely completion of projects and sustained growth in the construction sector.

“As the partnership between the Calgary Construction Association and Honour the Work takes shape, it represents a promising step towards inspiring the next generation of tradespeople and reshaping the future of Calgary’s construction industry,” Amstutz said.

For more information contact angela@honourthework.ca


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