Province’s fifth Centre of Excellence opens

by | Nov 15, 2023

Latest initiative sees partners promoting manufacturing trades education

With one of the largest food production facilities in Atlantic Canada as a backdrop, New Brunswick’s Education and Early Childhood Development Minister, Bill Hogan, announced the province’s fifth Centre of Excellence at McCain Foods in Florenceville-Bristol on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

“This centre will increase awareness of available career pathways in New Brunswick and will grow our province’s human resource capital to meet the needs of the labour market,” said Hogan. “We want young New Brunswick talent to stay in our province.”

The virtual centre provides experiential learning opportunities to Anglophone students before graduation. The centre also offers professional development for teachers.

Other partners involved with the centre are the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, the Construction Association of New Brunswick, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, McCain Foods, New Brunswick Community College, Malley Industries, Skills Canada NB and Opportunities NB.

Former Carleton North graduate and current full-time welder Eve Trites spoke to about 50 people who attended the announcement. She is a perfect example of how important it is to give students experiential trades learning.

Trites got to work with a welding simulator in her senior year at Carleton North High School with shop teacher Wayne Guest. She discovered how much she loved to work with her hands, and the experience changed her educational trajectory.

“My plan was to do kinesiology,” said Trites. “I play hockey. That’s always been my passion, and the way the body works, I think, is quite fascinating.”

Trites said her future was forever changed after she used the welding simulator. She graduated high school in June of 2023 and enrolled in a six-week MIG welding employment program through Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. She graduated from the program on Dec. 9, 2022, and started a full-time welding position with BID Canada Ltd. on Dec. 12.

“I always joke about this with my friends,” said Trites. “I had funding for my program, which was awesome, and I’m now working and have no student loans. I’m already planning my future, and they’re still in school, accumulating student debt.”

Trites believes more people should be looking into these kinds of careers.

“This worked for me, and I think it would work for a lot of other people as well, especially those who are into the hands-on stuff,” said Trites. “I am going to get my red seal, which means I’ll get paid to go to school, and you get better pay, and that opens up a lot more opportunities.”

Carleton North High School Principal Jason Smith helped Trites with her journey into the trades and believes students are better served now because of a push to offer more opportunities in school.

“We are now able to be that much more of a flexible system and meet what the students have for needs and wishes, like the work we did with Eve (Trites),” said Smith.

“We have to look at things through a flexible lens. If we don’t teach that class then,” he explained, “How else could we do it for her or others who want to do it? And that just means community partners, which we try to build with at our school.”

Smith and his boss, Anglophone West School District Superintendent David McTimoney, are happy to see the current boom in educational partnerships with local employers.

McTimoney said changes in the high school curriculum over the last few years have helped.

“We’ve seen some fantastic changes at the high school level where students have seen increased opportunities in their learning environment and learning outside the traditional classroom setting,” explained McTimoney. “We’re going to see that continue in the years ahead as graduation requirements change, as the structure of high school changes, that allows students to have more choice in what they are learning.” This centre’s focus on trades in the manufacturing sector helps businesses like McCain Foods find needed employees.

Terri Langdon is River Valley Strategy Director for McCain Foods. She said McCain welcomed the opportunity to be a partner in this initiative.

“Our partnership with the Centre of Excellence for Skilled Trades and Manufacturing is pivotal as it not only provides education to our youth but also contributes significantly to ensuring future workforce sustainability,” said Langdon. “By equipping the next generation with relevant skills and knowledge, we are actively investing in the long-term success and resilience of our province, our local communities, and our company.”

The centre and its partners will support curriculum content development and give educators access to online resources to support their work. The Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, the Construction Association of New Brunswick and the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will fund the centre.

From left, Anglophone West School District Superintendent
David McTimoney, Carleton North High School Principal Jason
Smith, and welding apprentice Eve Trites talk shop and
progress at the announcement. (Theresa Blackburn photo)

Speakers at the announcement included, back row, from
left, Nathan Langille, Centre of Excellence for Skilled Trades
and Manufacturing Lead, Jean-Pierre Giroux, Excellence in
Manufacturing Consortium President, Bill Hogan, Minister
of Education and Early Childhood Education, and Greg
Turner, Minister of Opportunities New Brunswick and Economic
Development and Small Business. Front row, Terri
Langdon, Director of the River Valley Strategy at McCain
Foods, Eve Trites, former CNHS student and welding apprentice,
and Margaret Johnson, Minister of Agriculture,
Aquaculture and Fisheries. (Theresa Blackburn photo)

FOREST FIRE INDEX – click image for current status

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have successfully subscribed! A confirmation email has been sent to your email account. To complete your subscription, open the email and click on the confirmation link. (If you can't find it in your inbox, try your junk and spam folders.) If you'd like to receive our updates more than once a week, please click the "Manage your subscription" link at the bottom of your Newsletter.