Carpentry class music to students’ ears

A carpentry class at Unionville High School is hitting all the right notes by encouraging students to consider pursuing a skilled trades career while still in high school as they make their own electric guitars.

“My dream is to be in architecture. Building a house, learning to know the basics is really important,” says Hayley, a Grade 12 student at the school.

In addition to learning how to plan and use machines safely and effectively, students are learning about the importance of trying new things and learning from mistakes. “I’m learning a lot of different skills, like how to use the machines and a lot of perseverance through this experience,” says Emily, a Grade 11 student at the school.

Students learned more about carpentry as a career from Andrew Edwards, a Red Seal carpenter who got his start in a high school shop class. He shared his experiences with the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and the profession. “I’m hoping the students can walk out of here and kind of make a decision on whether or not an apprenticeship is right for them,” says Edwards, owner/operator of Greenway Construction Inc.

His company is involved with OYAP, a school-to-work program that allows Grades 11 and 12 students to explore and gain apprenticeship training in one of more than 150 skilled trades. Students can become registered apprentices while completing their secondary school diplomas through the cooperative education program.

“This is really important because as soon as we graduate high school, one of the questions that we’re asked is what do we want to do for the rest of our lives and the only way we’re going to figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives is to try different things,” says Andrew Dennis, a technology teacher at Unionville H.S.

“In school here, I’m here, I’m helping you, I’m showing you what to do. If we can try some stuff in here and see if we like it, hey, maybe that’s a career one day.”

Learn more about opportunities to explore interests, build transferrable skills and gain experience at


Photo: A group of students at Unionville H.S. are making their own electric guitars in a carpentry class. (A screenshot from a Unionville High School video.)

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