Sudbury Catholic District School Board

Shaping Careers: Sector Partnership Enhances Skilled Trades Learning at St. Charles College

In partnership with Lopes Limited and Coniston Industrial Park Limited, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board is excited to announce that St. Charles College has enhanced its learning facilities with cutting-edge resources and state-of-the-art equipment to help support student development in the skilled-trades. 

In February, the school welcomed new equipment funded by Lopes Limited and Coniston Industrial Park Limited. The donation included three multiprocessor welders, two fume extractors, two pallets of welding consumables, safety gear, personal protective equipment (PPE), and four SMART TV monitors. In addition, the school also received six new garage bay doors for both automotive and construction shop areas that were recently installed over the March Break. These contributions will bolster the school’s learning programs and ensures students have access to state-of-the-art equipment that supports their engagement in areas such as welding, metal working, construction, automotive, and more. 

Felix Lopes Jr., president of Lopes Limited, passionately encourages today’s youth to get into the trades, “As leaders in the trades industry, we believe it’s our social responsibility to remove barriers and create meaningful pathways for our youth to pursue a career in the trades.” 

The newly added equipment aims to ignite an interest and passion amongst students in the skilled trades, potentially shaping the career paths of tomorrow’s workforce. The initiative, organized and generously funded by Lopes Limited and Coniston Industrial Park Limited, will help support students to engage in further hands-on learning opportunities that could potentially lead them to choosing a career in the skilled trades. 

“St. Charles College is proud to work with such amazing local partners and is committed to providing its students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the skilled trades. The new resources installed at our school this year will make a massive difference in the learning experience for our students. We extend our deepest gratitude to Lopes Limited and Coniston Industrial Park Limited for their generous contributions.” Says Principal Aaron Barry. 

Enhanced Promotion of Skilled Trades in Ontario schools: 

The Ontario Government is taking proactive steps to boost awareness and engagement with skilled trades in schools, aiming to provide students with opportunities to cultivate interests and skills that pave the way for successful careers. Currently, there are more than 140 skilled trades in Ontario. They fall under four sectors: construction, industrial, transportation and service. The skilled trades present a compelling array of fulfilling and financially rewarding paths for students. Through specialized training and hands-on experience, these professions offer secure employment, excellent compensation, and personal satisfaction. Visit for more information about the promotion of skilled trades in Ontario schools. 

“The ongoing promotion of the skilled trades within our schools is essential. By 2026, one in six job openings are projected to be in the skilled trades. This inevitable outcome means ensuring we have cutting-edge learning environments to promote the skilled trades within our secondary schools is now more important than ever.” Says Dan Levecque, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Specialist High Skills Major Secondary Consultant with Sudbury Catholic. “The newly added resources will encourage students to cultivate a genuine passion and skills for the many thrilling opportunities awaiting them in the skilled trades sector.”

Peter Prochilo, Superintendent of Education adds, “Not only will these new resources enhance the facilities in one of our largest school communities, it will further support our students in reaching their full potential, which always remains a top priority.” 

Equipment Drop Off

‘Together We Lead’ – First Blog of the 2023-24 School Year

The Sudbury Catholic District School Board is delighted to share the first blog of the 2023-24 school year, “Together We Lead.”

This blog is a celebration of the remarkable stories and experiences that unfolded throughout our community during the past two months. In this edition, you’ll find inspiring accounts of collaboration, leadership, and dedication from students, teachers, staff, and community partners.

Highlights from September include: 

  • Honouring Terry Fox – Features stories from St. Paul, Pius XII, St. Francis, and Holy Trinity.
  • Marymount Academy’s Fundraiser for NOFCC
  • Franco-Ontarian Day Celebrations – Features stories from St. Charles, St. James, and Immaculate Conception.
  • National Day for Truth & Reconciliation Initiatives – Features stories from St. Charles College, St. Albert, and St. Anne.

Highlights from October include: 

  • Learning Disabilities Awareness Month – Features Holy Cross Raising the Flag with the Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury at James Jerome Field.
  • International Day of the Girl – Features Grade 7 and 8 students at Skill’s Ontario’s Women in Trades Conference.
  • Jill of All Trades Event – Features Secondary Schools and SCDSB Scholarship Winners.
  • International Heritage and Language Classes at St. Albert

We invite you to read the full blog, where the incredible stories of leadership, collaboration, and community spirit come to life.

Director’s Corner – Together We Lead

Secondary Students Explore Trades and Technology Through Unique Mobile Truck Experience

During the week of October 11-14, 2022, Sudbury Catholic Secondary students participated in the Trades & Tech events presented by Skills Ontario. The Trades & Tech Truck is a mobile unit equipped with 10 different activities and simulators, allowing youth to explore skilled trades and technologies in an engaging and hands-on experience. 

Sudbury Catholic Schools continues to provide innovative experiential learning experiences throughout the year. Experiential learning encourages students of all ages to participate in activities to develop transferable skills and help prepare them for the future. Partnering with Skills Ontario allows the Board to bring unique opportunities such as the Trades & Tech Truck directly to students and schools. 

“The Trades & Tech Truck provides students with a safe and hands-on experience. The truck is equipped with a welder simulator, heavy equipment simulator, painting simulator, electrical trainer, and several other interactive stations. Through this experience, we can help properly demonstrate the skilled trades and technologies, along with the message that they are viable, first choice career options,” said Hayley Mackay, Trades & Tech Truck Driver with Skills Ontario. 

“I think these skills are important to know not only for academic purposes, but also in our day-to-day lives. Participating in Skills Ontario events is beneficial to show students what career options are out there, as well provide life skills that will be used outside of school,” said Finlee, Grade 10 student at Marymount Academy. 

“The experience was very cool and realistic. It’s awesome to learn about the various career options and have an opportunity to try them out first- hand. I feel like I learned a lot at the Trades & Tech Truck,” said Santino, Grade 10 student at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School. 

Skilled Trades are Not Just for Men!

Last week students from Grades 7-12 at Sudbury Catholic Schools had the opportunity to hear from Jamie McMillan, a Journeyman Ironworker/Boilermaker and founder of Work Boots Careers/Kick-Ass Careers.

Founder of Kickass Careers, Jamie McMillan

Jamie has been an Ironworker since 2002. Although she’s always been fascinated by mining and construction, and acting as her dad’s “side kick” around the house, it took a while before Jamie found her calling.

After graduating from high school in Timmins, her mom encouraged her to go into nursing. Jamie became a personal support worker by day and waitress and bartender by night. She was miserable, and didn’t like the pay or the hours, and wanted something more.

Jamie had just moved to Hamilton when she bumped into an old high school acquaintance on the street, who happened to be an Ironworker. That was the moment everything changed. “I looked up the union hall in the phone book and I walked in there, and I’m so glad,” Jamie says. She filled out applications, sent in high school transcripts, took tests, and was hired as an apprentice by Ironworkers Local 736 in Hamilton. She “earned and learned,” putting her union hall training and instruction in welding and fabrication into practice on the job.

Jamie speaks to more than 25,000 students, parents, educators and employers each year across North America. She has opened doors and minds to the career possibilities in the skilled trades, and shows youth an alternate pathway to rewarding and well-paid careers in the trades. She is also an inspiration and mentor to hundreds of young women. Jamie takes several months off each year from her skilled trades job to promote careers in underrepresented occupations and to encourage youth to consider the vast opportunities skilled labour has to offer. 

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