Levelling Up Ontario: Level Up events promote skilled trades to students

Mississauga, Ontario — On November 15 and 16, thousands of students from the Mississauga area from between grades 7 through 12 met with institutions, businesses and associations from across the skilled trades to ‘Level Up’ their trades awareness.

The Level Up Event occurred at the International Centre in Mississauga, where over 8,000 students each day attended a career fair “where hands-on experience meets career opportunity.” The framework of the event is a series of dynamic, multi-day programs with the goal of bringing together the best in the skilled trades across the industry so that students can network and learn about Ontario’s 140+ trades through interactive exhibitions and activities.

Some examples of exhibitors who participated in the Level Up Event include: Bombardier, Ontario Masonry Training Centre, Ontario Pipe Trades Council United Association, Centennial College, Toronto Transit Commission, CWB Welding Foundation, Skills Ontario, Downsview Aerospace, Tropicana Community Services, CARSTAR Canada and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.

The Level Up Event was not exclusive to Mississauga and is instead a cross-Ontario touring career fair that also made a stop in Oshawa on November 21 and 22 and will be stopping in Ottawa on November 28 and 29 at the EY Centre.

Collision Repair magazine had the opportunity to see students in action and also had the opportunity to hear the opinions of those in the automotive and trades industry who helped participate in the events.

When speaking with Anuradha Dhar, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, they noted that “each skilled trade fair saw high energy among attendees as they were excited to experience interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities while engaging directly with tradespeople, local employers, and post-secondary institutions about these lucrative careers.”

“Many families registered and attended together either in the evening during the open house or during the daytime, including homeschool students and recent graduates.
So far, a total of over 22,000 people across Ontario have attended the 8 events this year, including participation from over 1,000 schools.”

“The most recent event in Mississauga has been the largest of all stops, with over 65 organizations on site offering exhibits from across the 144 skilled trades. Over 9,500 people attended this event over the two days.”

Dhar further noted that “As the automotive industry has evolved and adopted many new technologies, career fairs like this are an opportunity to show students the advancements in the industry.

The fairs provide an opportunity for the industry to showcase the shifts in technology, innovations in the automotive industry, and help build a stronger workforce in the future.”

When speaking with Paulo Santos, Chair of the Automotive and Motorcycle Programs, School of Transportation at Centennial College, he echoed many of the ministry’s sentiments saying that “we found that many students were interested in transportation trades, and came prepared with very good questions.”

“The highlight moment of the event is seeing students having a great time and being amazed by the overall event. Many don’t have the opportunity to ever experience such an event, nor are they aware of many different career options that exist.”

“These events are extremely important to expose young people to many trade opportunities and plant a seed as well, that the trades are no longer considered a second or third class job/career, and that they do pay well. One other challenge in the automotive industry, is the huge investment in tools that a young apprentice has to invest in, at a very early stage of their career. And so having these events gives us the opportunity to educate young individuals thinking of a trade, that there are many incentives and grants to help them along the way.”

Finally, when speaking to Todd Noble, Central Regional Development Specialist at BMW Group Canada, he stressed that “without events like this how can [the industry] attract the next generation of technicians into the trade? Events like Level Up are extremely important as they allow students to meet with professionals and ask questions.”

For more information about upcoming Level Up events, click here.

Check out the photos below to see the career fair in full swing (and catch a glimpse of the Collision Repair team getting a look at all of the action).

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