In late October 25 London/Oxford/Elgin Region EMC Member facilities opened their doors to over 600 local High School students for plant tours.
This was the eighth year that these tours have been organized, it started with just a few plants and a few schools and it has grown every year into the great morning of tours it is today.
EMC members realize that finding people has become one of it not the biggest issue they face. The tours allow plants to show off all the things that happen in a manufacturing facility. From shop floor production process to all the things that happen in the front office. Students get a glimpse of everything that happens in a manufacturing facility and all the positions that are available in the sector.
These tours go a long way in changing the perception of manufacturing as a career choice. Unfortunately, today most students are not encouraged to explore a career in manufacturing or the trades. High school manufacturer type courses have been cut and most school manufacturing labs are underfunded and struggle to get the equipment and resources they need. Lots of manufacturing facilities would be happy to take on Co-op students but communication between school boards and manufacturers is lacking and many students don’t get the opportunity to participate in these types of Co-op’s.
A lot of the wrong pre-conceived notions of a career in manufacturing stems from parents that really have no idea about the opportunities that manufacturing offers. It would be great to be able to start opening young people’s eyes to the opportunities in the sector through parents, but this has been a challenge. We have explored getting grade school aged kids through plants, but logistically we have not been able to work this out. We’ve also done some out reach to high school guidance councillors, inviting them on plant tours, which was very beneficial.
The feedback we get from the students and the host plants from these tours is amazing. The students are very engaged on the tours with lots of questions and discussions. They are seeing things and technologies they have never seen before and in many instances, they did not know exist! The tours provide a very positive way for local plants to highlight what they do and the career options they have. The tours open the student’s eyes to a whole new realm of career opportunities they did not know exist!
Big thanks to our partners in this event…The Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board. Without their support and assistance these tours would not be possible.
For more information contact Jason