April 13, 2012 4 Comments
In the last five years at OSTP we have developed a unique partnership with the cooperative education program at the Thousand Island Secondary School in Brockville with tremendously positive results. What makes this partnership so special is the learning and knowledge exchange between the cooperative students and our valued production team members.
The Thousand Island Secondary School has long standing tradition in the excellence of it’s cooperative programs. As OSTP was embarking on its Route to World Class program with its 5S and Operator Maintenance program the students from the schools welding program were instrumental not only in the design and manufacture of many of the tools and equipment that allow us to work in a more organized, productive and safe manner all directed towards the goal of complete customer satisfaction form both a product and service perspective.
What was and remains truly amazing is the ease of communication between the two distinct generations that share the same passion for the welding and fabrication trade. We at OSTP are lucky to have a very dedicated workforce with many years of experience and expertise. One might think that because of this that the information transfer only went one way but that was not the case. While our valued team members interacted with the students it quickly became apparent that in many cases the cooperative students were the teachers and despite all of our experience we were indeed students thus reinforcing the old adage that learning is a lifelong activity.
This exchange is a great tool for an organization to develop possible future employees in any field, especially when skills and trade personnel are so difficult to find. While this helps in your HR strategy for building a potential pool of skilled labour it also provides the students not only with knowledge but an appreciation of the field in a working environment. This allows them to understand if they will want to pursue this as a career or find a different field that better suits their interest.
While certainly technology has made the pipe and fitting industry perhaps a little easier than in the past the simple fact is there are certainly many “tricks” that can only be mastered by the trial and error process of continual leaning that comes with experience. If we transfer even a small portion of our life learning on to the next generation then we have both given a helping hand up to the next generation of professional welders and fabricators but also paid homage to our welding and fabrication fore fathers who took just that little extra time to pass on the “tricks” on to us.