Launch Pad Youth Activity and Technology Centre (Launch Pad) is a youth centre in Hanover focusing on after school programs in technology and the trades for youth 12 – 18. In early 2020, Launch Pad was awarded government funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs Rural Economic Development Grant and the Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development Skills Catalyst Fund to expand trades training opportunities for youth 18 – 29 during the day while youth 12-18 are in school.
With the COVID-19 shutdown delaying the launch of the programs, and restricting the number of registrants, the first programs in Wood Manufacturing and Intro to Welding ran for the month of August with seven youth aged 18 – 24 participating.
“Our innovative angle that we put to our submissions to the Ministry was that we had local employers signed up to sit on our curriculum advisory committees for the month long programs,” explains Emily Morrison, Executive Director of Launch Pad. “These employers had a say in what we were teaching the youth to ensure that the skills taught matched what was needed in their businesses increasing the chance for a successful employment opportunity. ”
Crate Designs Furniture, West Bros. Furniture, and Durham Furniture sat on the curriculum advisory team for the wood manufacturing program while CM Precision and Caldecott Manufacturing gave advice to the Intro to Welding Programs. The employers also offered the youth of the program facility tours, offering a behind the scenes look to potential employment opportunities. The wood manufacturing group also made a picnic table for the Bradley School Community Centre. The youth of the program gained experience in the design and building of the picnic tables. The wood was donated from Allen’s Home Hardware in Paisley, and the Bradley School Community Centre received a low cost picnic table.
Online applications are now open for the second round of programs. Wood Manufacturing begins Monday September 14th and an Introduction to Welding begins the following week, Monday September 21st. Launch Pad is also considering a month long Culinary Program beginning mid-October if the community interest is there. A third round of programs will begin in January 2021. Check out yatc.ca for more info and click on the button YOUTH 18 – 29 for the registration form.
If COVID-19 continues to trend upwards, after school programs for youth 12 – 18 will start up again post-Thanksgiving weekend, with new hours Monday to Thursday, but drop-in hours will remain closed until 2021.
Launch Pad, is growing to become a key player in the local workforce development strategy. For more information, or for a private tour of Launch Pad, check out our website at www.yatc.ca or call 519-506-6300.