Above: Representatives from Stelco and the CWB Welding Foundation joined Grand Erie staff and students to unveil the upgraded spaces.

Donation Gives Education in Skilled Trades an Industry-Ready Edge



ast week, holding an oversized pair of novelty scissors that required both hands, Lorne Johnstone, Grade 12 student at Cayuga Secondary School, cut through a ribbon to officially unveil the school’s upgraded technological education learning space. He was joined by fellow students, staff, and representatives from Stelco and the CWB Welding Foundation, which made the upgrades possible through a donation that added industry-grade welding equipment and machinery in line with today’s workforce. 

Above: Student Lorne Johnstone in the welding space.

“This is the way my brain works; I learn by doing things and I take in information very easily when I’m able to build and be more hands-on,” said Johnstone, adding that he’s had the chance to try out a number of skilled trades in his time at Cayuga Secondary. “With these new machines, we have the ability to do a lot more, so it’s opened up opportunities to explore what you like and, for me, it’s opened up a career path.” 

Bolstering a future workforce in the skilled trades is the aim behind the $182,000 donation from Stelco through the CWB Welding Foundation, which funded the equipment upgrades at Cayuga Secondary and two other schools in the region. It strives to fill the skills gap by supporting and inspiring the next generation of welders. 

“The trades is a quickly evolving field, and having up-to-date tools and equipment in our facilities means our learners can develop the skills and critical knowledge to confidently take their next steps into a bright future,” said Kevin Graham, superintendent responsible for secondary schools in Grand Erie. “The practical skills and real-world knowledge students gain in a program like this is an incredible advantage to have.” 

Above: Students Hannah Muirhead (left) and Jenessa Lise at work in one of the welding booths.

The funding allowed for upgraded welding booths (there are 12 at Cayuga Secondary) and ventilation systems, as well as the installation of new industry-grade multi-process welding machines similar to the standards learners will find in the field.

“It’s a big help not only for us, but for future students who will be coming into these classes,” said Sierra Meadows, Grade 12 student at Cayuga Secondary, who helped unveil the tech learning spaces. “I’m really looking forward to starting at Mohawk next year for welding, and I wouldn’t have found this path if it wasn’t for [Cayuga Secondary technological education teacher] Mr. Battle and this great tech department, and all of the opportunities it’s made possible.” 

Grand Erie’s multi-year strategic plan includes the vision to learn, lead and inspire, and the board is grateful to the community partners who share this vision through investing in forward-looking initiatives that add invaluably to learners’ educational journeys. 

Above: Technological education teacher Rob Battle in the classroom space.


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