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Local youth learn about skilled trades one hands-on activity at a time

July 21, 2015

A group of local youth, heading into Grades 7 and 8 in the fall, was learning about the skilled trades, one hands-on activity at a time, during the Skills Ontario’s Skills Work! Summer Camp held July 13-17 in Tiverton.

Campers participated in many skilled trades workshops, including information technology and pneumatics, at the Bruce Power Visitors' Centre, and at the Bruce Technology Skills Training Centre in the Bruce Energy Centre. They met local mentors and learned more about a career path in the skilled trades.

Sponsored by Hydro One and Bruce Power, the week also included experience with a crane simulator and structure building, and emergency services, as well as games and entrepreneurship activities.

Monday afternoon, the focus was on radioactivity, proper containment and protection of nuclear workers.

Led by Henry Vande Klippe of Bruce Power, the workshop began with the campers learning how to use the equipment to test for radioactive contamination. They then tried the instruments out on a dish of table salt.

From there, they used various items, such as thin cardboard, corrugated cardboard, plastic, steel and concrete, to shield themselves from the radiation. Steel and concrete worked the best.

The campers then tested propane lantern mantels and found them to be highly radioactive, and again tested the various materials for shielding from that potent source.

Vande Klippe demonstrated how to get into a plastic suit which is used to protect employees who work inside the nuclear reactors. There is only one hole in the suit and while you're working in it, you sweat out about one pound per hour, he said.

While inside the reactor, an oxygen line is hooked up to the suit to provide fresh air and cool down the temperature.

Vande Klippe then removed the plastic suit while standing in a containment area, and had a couple of campers check his boots for any radiation, and there was none.

"It takes 39 days of training to learn how to go in and out of reactor vaults safely," said Vande Klippe.

Each camper then got into a pair of "whites" (protective gear) before the workshop ended.

“The goal of the Skills Work! Summer Camps is to introduce these young campers to a range of career possibilities," says Charlene Bishop, summer camp manager at Skills Ontario. "The camp is all about making discoveries and learning new skills. Young people need to know that the trades and technologies offer many opportunities that can lead to bright, stable and successful futures.”

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