Above: Stephon explains how sheet metal is cut with a plasma cutter.

Experiential Learning Inspires the Next Generation of Young Professionals 

FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2023


n a world of opportunity, deciding what’s next is no easy feat. Just ask Emely and Stephon, BCI students who found direction in their local community through co-operative learning.

Above: Emely makes educational resources for future appointments.

Emely’s interest in speech and language services began years ago after a family member attended speech therapy. With curiosity and limited knowledge, Emely sought hands-on experience with Kids Can Speak in Brantford.

Emely’s supervisor, Meg, is showing her the ins and outs of speech services, including what it takes to become a Speech Language Pathologist or Communicative Disorders Assistant, attending client meetings and preparing educational resources like flashcards and videos.

“Experiential learning gives students a chance to explore their career interests outside the traditional walls of education,” said Jennifer Grierson, BCI teacher and placement matchmaker.

Over at Crystal Heating and Cooling, Stephon is finishing his second placement. Most days, you’ll find him shaping sheet metal and assisting with the plasma cutter. Other days, he attends home visits, helping with ventilation and taping.

"Our role as industry professionals, from teachers to tradesmen, is to provide the foundation and building blocks to help the next generation succeed."

Trevor Finn


With four credits last semester and two more on the way, Stephon’s experience will have him working in no time. Past student Blake advanced through his apprenticeship with Crystal Heating and Cooling and now, at 19 years old, he’s collected the same amount of credentials as someone in their thirties.

“Being a former co-op student, I can speak to the long-lasting effect it’s had on my life and the students we mentor. My goal is to share my experience and inspire students to do the same,” says Crystal Heating and Cooling president Trevor Finn.

“Our role as industry professionals, from teachers to tradespeople, is to provide the foundation and building blocks to help the next generation succeed.”

Co-operative learning gives students a sense of the working world and lifts the pressure of making career decisions. Grand Erie thanks the mentors and teachers who lead and inspire our students every step of the way. 

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