The housing charity Blue Door celebrated as its signature trades training program stepped into a new space and reached its second anniversary.
Dignitaries, partners and students gathered at the new location for Construct in Aurora Dec. 15. The training program from Blue Door recruits and trains people to enter the trades sector, many coming from vulnerable positions. After operating out of office space, Blue Door has now secured a larger building to run the year-round program.
As Construct reached two years of operating, Blue Door CEO Michael Braithwaite said it has helped keep 200 youth out of poverty.
”We want to do more and more with this program,” he said, adding that governments are pushing to build thousands of new homes. “To do that, we need people in the trades. People in the trades are rapidly retiring, there are so many gaps there. A program like Construct fills those gaps.”
The new space located at Earl Stewart Drive in Aurora offers classroom space wide enough for students to get more hands-on learning before getting out into the field. Courses for Construct run for eight weeks, also offering students support for food, travel and mental health with the help of provincial and federal funding.
Blue Door director of social enterprise Rudi Genovese said the team has really built up the program well over the past two years, which started in the middle of the pandemic.
“This amazing new training centre really has become a new home for so many people coming into this program and is really going to have an impact for years to come,” he said. “It’s just a culmination of a lot of what we have been doing … This is going to be a real opportunity to get their hands dirty early.”
Jaeden Morris recently graduated from the program eight weeks ago and is now pursuing an apprenticeship. He said it is a good program to get into construction.
“I got to learn a few things by watching how they went about building,” he said. “I would recommend this program. It’s very helpful with getting you started.”
The program has expanded out to include Durham and Peel regions. Braithwaite said they hope to continue to expand, and it is a model that can work everywhere.
“It’s not about expansion for the sake of expansion. We’ve seen with our partners at the Home Depot Foundation how we can actually have a greater impact,” he said. “Duplicate it so we could put thousands of people into the trades.