To all our students, SMART Local 280, contractors and staff,
It is important to acknowledge that is has been one year today since the Sheet Metal Workers Training Centre temporarily suspended classes on March 20, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In those first few weeks, there were so many unknowns; transitioning staff to work remotely, conceptualizing how to develop a blended learning model combining online theoretical and onsite technical training, and investing in IT infrastructure to make it all possible.
It was a daunting feat to prepare to deliver sheet metal training online while simultaneously reconfiguring our high touch, hands-on trades training facility to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines. Through tremendous amounts of time and effort, our staff persevered and in June we welcomed back our first class of 24 Level 4’s apprentices. All 24 students excelled and passed the IP exam – a stellar result!
COVID-19 has provided opportunity for innovation, adaptation and increased digital literacy skills. All SMWTC students are issued iPads and laptops for use while in training. To learn remotely, students use Zoom, MS Teams and Total Track, our learning management system. They are also taught AutoCAD, previously only offered as Specialty Training. The learning curve and adjustment process has been a challenge, not only for the students but also the staff. Everyone has demonstrated patience and the willingness to learn. We have found our groove and are making this work!
To our students – thank you for rising to the challenge of learning online and for being patient awaiting your next class assignment. We are working through the rescheduling process as quickly as possible.
To SMART Local 280 and our contractors – thank you for your diligence to keep our workforce safe on the job and releasing apprentices for technical training when scheduled.
To our staff – thank you for your ingenuity to find solutions to IT and facility challenges, your get ‘er done attitude and dedication to quality training for students. Your hard work and professionalism are second to none and are the backbone of our success.
So, on behalf of the Sheet Metal Industry Training Board (SMITB) and the Sheet Metal Workers Training Centre (SMWTC), I would like to thank you and your families for all that you are doing to lead safe and productive lives at home, work and school while adhering to the COVID-19 public health orders.
We have had our individual experiences over the last 12 months. Collectively we can continue to keep each other safe until this pandemic is a memory of a time of tremendous change and opportunity. Please continue to be mindful to keep ourselves, our families, our colleagues and our communities safe do our best to follow public health orders. As we monitor the vaccine roll-out, let’s reassure each other to remain vigilant in our efforts to keep everyone safe while remaining positive and focused on the future.
Stay safe everyone and thank you!