A group of Haliburton Highlands Secondary School (HHSS) students were attracted to the Haliburton Crew booth at the Haliburton County Home Builders Association (HCHBA) job fair May 8.

Handed a set of plans, and instructed to use Styrofoam blocks, they began building a basement foundation.

Allie Todd was one of them. In between placing blocks, she said, “I think it is actually really fun and interesting. I had no idea how to even think about building a basement. It’s a great way to show kids what this job would really be about. I thought it was a great learning experience.”

Todd said she has considered working in the trades, and wants to learn more about the prospect. She still has questions but, “I’m really a hands-on person. I don’t like textbook stuff. This might be something I’m kind of interested in doing.”

The HCHBA’s Aggie Tose said 32 companies attended the job fair in the high school gym last Wednesday.

“It’s been very successful,” she said, with companies looking for co-op students and apprentices.

She added the home builders and school had communicated well in advance so the high school knew who was coming, and what they were going to be offering.

Commenting on the new fast-track skilled trades program, Tose said there would be room for students “that want to work” in construction.

Angie Horner-Xerri was there from Quantum Passivhaus in Minden.

“It’s a community thing and it’s outreach to kids to know what is possible in terms of work, whether it’s with us or someone else,” Horner-Xerri said of the business’ first time attendance.

She added, “we like people to know prefabricated building is an industry of its own. Also, because we’re in Minden, and one of the local folks that do it, we want people to know we’re here, and this is a great opportunity for us as well to meet all the kids.”

Quantum Passivhaus’ human resources person, Jenna Terrill, said while they now employ 24 people, they are looking for carpenters, project coordinators, and project managers.

Horner-Xerri added they enjoyed talking to the other construction professionals as well, so the day served as a networking platform for employers.

And it wasn’t just those in the construction and renovation industries looking for help. Included in the vendors were Dysart et al council, EMS, Fleming College, Into the Blue Pizza and more.