Canadore College in North Bay has wheeled out a new mobile recruiting tool for some of its skilled trades programs.
A 47-foot transport trailer, complete with interactive displays, is on the road to attend some summer events in the area.
The transport trailer is equipped with a virtual welder, a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, a motive power diagnostics display, interactive plumbing and electrical displays, and a carpentry demonstration for participants to experience these trades first-hand.
“There are hands-on opportunities so it is all very interactive,” said recruiting co-ordinator Ryan Drouin.
“The virtual welder is almost like a video game.”
So far, the trailer has been at rib fests in Petawawa and Parry Sound, the King of the North Dragway in Bonfield and North Bay’s Summer in the Park event.
The transport was donated to the motive power program where it was being used as a training tool. It was determined that it could also be used as a recruiting tool to bring skilled trades programs offered at the college, and the opportunities they provide, to the public.
“The response has been great. It’s been a huge draw at the events we have been to. The sheer size of it grabs your attention. Once you get inside, people can get a good grasp of what we offer. It is something we are proud of,” he said.
People have been coming in to the trailer with enquiries and the college has been receiving follow-ups as well.
A partnership has been formed with the Canadian Institute of Mining’s (CIM) Northern Gateway Branch in North Bay, which is providing some funds for three years to keep the transport on the road. “It’s a great partnership,” Drouin said. “It’s good from a college perspective as well to have that kind of partnership to open more doors.
And it is good for the CIM since we are promoting the trades required in the mining industry. It’s a good recruiting tool for both of us.”
Tom Palangio, chair of the Northern Gateway Branch, said the CIM should be instrumental in promoting the trades.
“I think it is put together quite well and a nice idea,” he said. “There is a skills gap in our industry, and a lot of others, so we thought it would be beneficial contributing some funds to the transport.”
He would like to see more emphasis on the trades, even at the secondary school level, and said they have been overlooked for quite some time.
“I can’t think of another area that you can get into and be your own boss or even be able to set up a business. There are very few areas like that left these days. If you want to work in mining, for instance, it opens doors to travel and adventure. The trades offer well-paying jobs,” said Palangio.