At the SIEC, when we think summer, we don’t necessarily think of summer vacation, beaches, and road trips. We tie summer to job placements, apprenticeship hours, and high school credits—in fewer words, our Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP). One of our favourite lines to ask students is “do you like money?” (answer is usually yes). “Do you want to earn high school credits while getting paid?” (Again, the answer is usually yes). The SYIP is a win-win opportunity for any high school student.
Every year in March, we start the recruiting process for both students and companies. This year we had to take a different approach as our normal process was not possible due to COVID-19. Did we worry for a moment that no students/companies would sign up? Yes. Did we worry for a moment that the program would have to be cancelled? Also, yes. We knew we had to lower our expectations from previous years but what happened next is something we were not expecting: lots of students and companies applied to participate. 19 companies and 64 students to be exact (insert happy crying face here).
People always say, it’s all about relationships, and this program proves it. Companies we have worked with for years, see the value in working with our students so they did not hesitate to participate. The students we worked with in the months prior listened and applied (I know, we were as shocked as you). So, we cleared one hurdle; we had the participants. Now we had to conduct all interview prep, interviews, and training virtually with high school students from different homes in the midst of a pandemic. We got this.
Now, this is where the companies and students we work with deserve a shout out. They were so accommodating and made the interview process run so smoothly. Students are nervous on a normal day to sit and try and convince a complete stranger in 10 minutes as to why they deserve the job over the other five students. Now to do that virtually or while trying to remember all the safety protocols we had drilled into their brains? Not an easy feat. The easy-going, inviting attitude the companies presented put the students at ease and made it an enjoyable process. Even though more than half of the students interviewed were unable to obtain a position, the positive experience made the rejection a little easier.
We had a great feeling about this year’s batch of students as they seemed very mature and thankful for this opportunity, and it was evident a few weeks into the program that our “spidey-sense” was right and this year’s students were awesome. Don’t be fooled, we had some bumps along the road (some bigger than others) but for the most part, the students worked hard and took advantage of every opportunity thrown their way. When you show up on a jobsite and a student is scraping stucco off a whole building by hand, and they are raving about how they are so excited to do it and just so thankful for the chance to do it, it is a very humbling experience, and you know you have done something right even in the short few weeks you had to help guide their career journey.
In 2020, we had 19 companies participate, providing 25 placements. 64 students applied with 25 receiving a placement. All 25 students completed the program and 20 were offered employment at the end of the program. We also granted 20 apprenticeship credits.
We want to recognize this year’s participating companies along with the top students in the program.
- 3Twenty Solutions (5-year participation award winner)
- Andersons Transmissions & Auto Care
- BASF Canada
- Boryski’s Butcher Block
- Core HVAC Services (5-year participation award winner)
- Craigs Excavating
- D2 Construction
- Front Porch Design
- Giles Midtown Autobody
- Humboldt Electric
- I & M Welding (5-year participation award winner)
- Innovative Creative
- J Barry Electrical
- K3 Excavating
- Loraas Disposal Services
- Phobia Autocare
- Rely-Ex Contracting
- SeeMoreGreen Landscaping
- Siemens Transportation Group
Lana Bauer Achievement Award
- Jacob Klassen, Walter Murray Collegiate
Drew Kolbeck Memorial Scholarship
- Tate Porrelli, Walter Murray Collegiate
SYA Industry Scholarship (Provided through the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trades Certification Commission)
- Chad Davies, Dalmeny High School