Our Lady of the Assumption Elementary School partnered with Southland International Trucks to give a presentation to students about the transportation and trucking industry on Monday. Southland brought a truck and trailer to the schoolyard for the students to explore and learn, getting a hands-on experience to go with their education.
“Over the last three years here at Our Lady of the Assumption, we have worked to have a STEM and STEAM focus (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). The way we have done that is, each month, we have a designated afternoon for STEAM activities for Grades One through Six,” said Meghan Calder, Principal at Our Lady.
“One of our focuses this year is to include trades and industry partners, and the first community partner to step up was Southland International. They are working with us, as well as the college and Career Transitions, to plan a full day of activities in May. We will introduce kids to a variety of trades and industry partners, the whole gamut of trades.
“Today’s event is an introduction for our students into what that might look like.”
Understanding the plethora of career paths in today’s world, events like this help younger minds cultivate their potential for future pathways.
“It helps them recognize and realize that the trades industry is a real career path. If we foster that curiosity and inquisitiveness when they are young, they can continue to follow that into their career,” said Calder.
“In this day and age, all paths are valid and important. There is education to be had in all those areas, and they are careers. Kids need to have opportunities to be curious and to explore those areas of interest.”
By bringing experts in their fields to the classroom, Calder notes the importance of the information they pass along to students. “Many teachers, most of us, have gone through academia, we have degrees, that is what we have to have in order to be here. Many of us are not familiar with trades and industry. The idea is to have the students be able to identify what these skills could be used for in the future,” said Calder.
Rob Mitchell, Service Manager for Southland International, says the goal is to make kids aware of all the career paths for their future and to ignite a spark that takes them on that journey. “It’s to have them be introduced to the trucking industry mainly but to try and educate them that there are a lot of different pathways to a career, to identify each child’s gift, whatever that is. I’m excited to see kids succeed in all the different pathways,” said Mitchell.
With stigmas around the trade industry, the goal of the collaboration is to highlight the education and career pathways while opening possibilities for future jobs.
“I want to remove those stigmas and say, ‘Hey, if you are happy doing that, then that’s great.’ This is one way to introduce students, get rid of those stigmas, and start educating more people on the fact that there are a lot of different pathways,” said Mitchell.
“We are so excited and thankful to have Southland International partner with us to help along this journey,” said Calder. “The partners we have started us on this journey, and I hope it becomes a big thing moving forward.”
BY RY CLARKE – LETHBRIDGE HERALD LOCAL JOURNALISM INITIATIVE REPORTER ON FEBRUARY 14, 2023.