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‘It’s unbelievable’: Quebec trade schools booming

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Quebec trade schools are booming – Mar 3, 2021

Staff at the Pearson Electrotechnology Centre say the school is bursting at the seams.

“We are growing, it’s unbelievable,” said student co-ordinator Shari Waldrich.

According to her, the electricity program, one of five trade courses (an interior decorating program will start in May) at this adult centre in Lachine is in such high demand there’s a two-to-three-year waiting list.

“It’s the only English program in Quebec,” she said.

She said there are usually four cohorts of 22 students each school year for the 16-month program, but even that is not enough, so the school is adding two new labs to accommodate another 40-plus students.

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“They will be motors labs and our PLCs and instrumentation labs,” teacher Michael Luciano told Global News.

But the Lester B. Pearson School Board, which oversees the institution, didn’t hire work crews. According to school officials, all the work is being done by students, some of it by the electricity students from the school, like Adam Hoppenheim. The student said he’ll be helping to set up the electrical connections for each of the cubicles in the new labs.

“Our job is we’re gonna be running conduits (into cubicles), which allows the wires to be protected,” he said.

All the woodwork, though, is being done by carpentry students from the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC), part of the New Frontiers School Board.

“We’ve worked together on several projects in the past years,” Luciano said. “We work very well together.”

James Trepanier, master carpenter and teacher at CVCEC, said the first time the two institutions collaborated on a project was in 2016.

“Our school, CVCEC in Orsmtown, we actually built a house,” he said. “They did the electricity and the plumbing for it.”

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For this project, he explained that different students come in daily so that more of them get experience beyond the classroom setting.

“They’re actually real work experience, actually what it’s really like to work on a construction site,” he stressed.

Trepanier added that the pupils are qualified for any work they do before they get on the site.

Hoppenheim, who graduates this fall, said on-the-job training such as this is a great refresher. He pointed out this is the place to make mistakes, and he’s made a few.

“Oh, plenty,” he laughed. “Plenty of mistakes. But this is a learning process. I’m a student and I’m here to learn.”

School officials expect the labs to be ready for new students in spring 2021.

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