Tour provides students with close look at industry

Holy Trinity students Derek Dawson, Braeden Bowyer, and Dartangan Cooper were among a group of about 30 local high school students that had the opportunity to visit the Toyotetsu plant in Simcoe as part of a Manufacturing Day tour. Ashley Taylor photo

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Students from Simcoe Composite School and Holy Trinity Catholic High School had the opportunity to think about future careers on Oct. 3.

About 30 students from the two schools came together for a tour of the Toyotetsu Canada, Inc. plant in Simcoe as part of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie’s Manufacturing Day. The day kicked off the board’s Manufacturing Month.

The students arrived to the factory around 9:30 a.m. to hear about the different roles available in a factory such as Toyotetsu, including general labourer, skilled trades, and office admin positions.

The largest number of employees work in three of the productive departments that look after stamping, welding, and production control of the automotive parts created for Toyota. Other departments the students were introduced to include health and safety, human resources, accounting, engineering, and quality.

Students were able to enter a controlled environment working with test pieces used for training.

“We were able to have the students go right up to the equipment to see it firsthand without it in operation,” said human resources specialist Ian Rabbitts.

They were also able to use virtual reality to learn what it feels like to drive a forklift around the factory. Rabbitts said the virtual map of the factory is accurate down to the centimetre to train employees on how to drive a forklift in the factory before ever stepping foot on a real one.

Grade 11 SCS student Gabriel Armstrong was impressed with the tour.

“I thought it was really cool going inside of the factory,” said Armstrong. “Inside was like an ant farm with all of the specialized sectors, it was amazing.”

Armstrong said that a career in this line of work is “definitely a possibility” for his future.

This was Toyotetsu’s third year participating in the Manufacturing Day event.

“I always find it rewarding,” Rabbitts said about the possibility students that have attended the tours apply for jobs. “The dividends are starting to pay off. We invested some time, and a year or two goes by and they might apply for a job.

According to the Workforce Planning Board’s website, around 16,000 Grand Erie residents work in manufacturing. Across Brantford, Brant, Haldimand, and Norfolk, about 250 students spent the day learning about manufacturing careers.

 

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