SHSM Conference attracts hundreds of students for certification training

Posted on Monday November 02, 2015
Group dynamics and leadership workshop
Group dynamics and leadership workshop

Approximately 400 RCDSB Grade 11 students descended on Cobden, Wednesday, Oct. 21 and turned the tiny town in to a SHSM certification warehouse.

The 2015 RCDSB Specialist High Skills Major Conference, brings SHSM students from all seven RCDSB secondary schools to one location for a day of honest talk on Renfrew County’s economy and certification training related to each student’s chosen SHSM program.

The SHSM program encourages students to focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting their graduation requirements. The SHSM is a valued part of the RCDSB Grade 11 and 12 students' pathways.

There are 41 SHSM programs available to students within the RCDSB representing 15 sectors such as health, transportation, the service industry, with roughly 900 students involved.

The second annual RCDSB SHSM Conference started off with keynote speaker, award-winning filmmaker Matt LeMay talking to the students about Renfrew County’s economy and job prospects.

LeMay pointed out the five largest Renfrew County employers, all government agencies, require all employees to have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma. Ninety-eight per cent of businesses in Renfrew County are small businesses employing nine or fewer staff members. LeMay mentioned Renfrew County faces an aging workforce and those in attendance will have five to nine jobs within their lifetimes.

“How do you prepare for that?” LeMay asked. “You are going to be filling a huge void. Seek out opportunities when they present themselves.”

LeMay also assembled an expert panel for his presentation consisting of Lacey Rose, a Renfrew County Forester, Susan Sweet of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Jenna Reekie, an RPN Clinical Superviser and Gallant Media Sales and Marketing Manager Scott Conroy. The panel spoke of career opportunities within their fields as well as discussing personal stories on LeMay’s theme of seeking out opportunities.

Following the keynote address and lunch, the students broke in to smaller workshop groups to take part in SHSM Sector Certification in fields including business, construction, environment, forestry, health and wellness, horticulture and many more. In total 19 certification workshops were offered to attendees in several locations spread throughout Cobden.

“Today was an exciting day for staff and students,” RCDSB Student Success Leader Jacqueline Poirier said. “The kickoff day is a wonderful way to introduce students to the SHSM program. By participating in today's learning they are one certification closer to earning the Red Seal on their diploma.”

To see more photos from the event, click here to visit our Facebook photo gallery.