Hamilton co-operative education programs let students earn as they learn

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Before he leaves high school, Matthew Marchewka will complete his Construction Craft Worker (CCW) level 1 training and join the Liuna Local 837 union as an employee at Grimsby Utility Construction Incorporated, all while earning co-operative education credits.

Through a partnership with the St. John Henry Newman Catholic Co-operative Education Program and the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), on May 10, Marchewka signed on with Liuna Local 837 after completion of the CCW Program at the LiUNA training centre.

Earning and learning while in the secondary school co-operative education program gives students the ability to gain skills, work habits and experience to influence their future career paths.

Marchewka is looking forward to the future.

“I have been able to start my career earlier and get a head start on my future,” he said. “I am so glad that I took co-op as I’ve learned so much throughout the past four months.”

The partnership between Liuna Local 837 and the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board (HWCDSB) is cultivated on the need for students who could eventually become tradespeople and members of their union.

Nick Ciccone, training director for Liuna Local 837 said, “Our construction craft worker apprenticeship has been a starting point for our OYAP students. It provides opportunities and it gives them the skill sets they will need to continue on in the construction industry and work towards becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade.”

Pat Piro, HWCDSB OYAP co-ordinator said, “OYAP and the HWCDSB, the Ministry of Learning Training Standards and Delivery (MLTSD) and Liuna local 837 have provided senior secondary students with authentic learning opportunities. Through the OYAP program, students like Matthew get registered as an apprentice in Ontario — a tremendous head start to their future. We are fortunate to have the Liuna training centre as a reliable partner. They are very organized and have professional instructors.”