WORKING - A student from École Secondaire Notre Dame High School worked on cutting a piece of metal on the job site as part of the Building Opportunities program in Red Deer on Tuesday

Building Opportunities program at high school a success

  • Oct. 12, 2016 2:57 p.m.

For one group of Grade 11 and 12 students at Ecole Secondaire Notre Dame High School, their school experience is broadened via the Building Opportunities program.

“Building Opportunities gets students active in the construction industry. It’s to kind of show them what Central Alberta has to offer for young men and women in and around construction. It’s not specifically a carpentry course; it’s a construction course,” said Mike VanLanduyt, the Building Opportunities program coordinator at NDHS.

The program, which is now entering its 13th year, gives students the opportunity to fully participate in the construction of a house in the community, provided by Laebon Homes, from beginning to end.

“We start right at the beginning of September and we work with every trade and service that would be involved in this house from design and surveying, excavating, cribbing, framing, siding and roofing. All of the mechanical right up until the end of dry wall and we hand it back over to Laebon at Christmastime and they take it over and do the finishing and the kitchen cabinets and the painting,” VanLanduyt explained.

Building Opportunities was initially brought to VanLanduyt 13 years ago by then-Red Deer Catholic Regional School Board Chairperson Gord Bontje, who is also a founding partner at Laebon Homes.

“He saw an article in some magazine about a similar kind of a thing and he just wrote on the article why couldn’t we do this? Sent it over to my principal and she put it in front of me and said why couldn’t we do this? and I said I’d love to do that,” VanLanduyt recalled.

“With some people with vision and opportunities, we got it going.”

Only 16 students are accepted into the program each year and VanLanduyt said the selection criteria is competitive.

“Basically they have to have interest and they have to have initiative to be here every day at 7 a.m. and it’s just the best available students we have at Notre Dame for this kind of program,” VanLanduyt said.

It’s not an easy schedule to keep for a high school student, as they are expected to be at the school at 7 a.m. every day regardless of the weather conditions.

“You get used to it. It’s worth it because then you get to spend four or five hours out here getting to do something interesting. It’s actually quite helpful because then you get to learn something and it’s very hands-on,” said Shelbey Tensen, a Grade 11 student in the program this year.

She added for her, having an opportunity to participate in a program like Building Opportunities has been a great experience.

“It’s a great experience and it’s an opportunity for lots of kids. I’ve talked to friends from other schools and they don’t get this chance and that’s kind of a shame because you get to see every trade from surveying all the way up to roofing, finishing, siding, dry walling, electrician and plumbing. You get to try it all, experience it all. It’s a good way to see what you want to do.”

VanLanduyt added as a teacher the program offers him a chance to teach more than just a trade to his students.

“My main stress is that I try and teach good work habits. I’m not trying to teach any particular trade or service. I don’t know what their interests are going to be but I want to show them what the industry expects as far as the quality of their work and the habits that they work with. I try to teach a good cross-section of the transferable skills that no matter what they end up doing they can transfer over,” he said.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Team Canada dancer returns to Red Deer laden with medals

Red Deer dancer wins three silver medals and a bronze at World Championship

Local author releases brand new international thriller

Retired teacher Larry Stewart hosting a book launch this Saturday

WATCH: Servus Credit Union partners with City on new arena

City of Red Deer began final steps towards opening of Servus Credit Union Arena

RCMP search for individual impersonating a police officer

Red Deer teen pulled over by a car flashing red and blue lights

Red Deer Health Foundation raises $1.2 million through Festival of Trees

Festival of Trees enjoyed a ‘Renaissance year,’ said Foundation chair

Troubled Monk releases new spirit

Troubled Spirit vodka was introduced in early December

Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

What were Canadians were curious about: Google searches suggest 2017 a tough year

Democrat wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset

Democrat Doug Jones wins stunning red-state Alabama Senate upset against Roy Moore

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The top-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Which show did you cheat on your spouse with by watching ahead?

2017 word of the year: Feminism

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017: ‘Feminism’

200 Russians to compete in Olympics as neutrals

The Russian Olympic Committee expects 200 to compete in South Korea

Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exist

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

Trudeau appoints Supreme Court chief justice

Prime Minister Trudeau appoints Richard Wagner as Supreme Court chief justice

Most Read