Innovative CAW Apprenticeship Board Game Takes Off

March 26, 2013, 11:45 AM EST

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An innovative board game originally developed by the CAW to encourage young people to consider a career in the skilled trades will become a prominent fixture in schools across Ontario.

The board game Skills Work! Skills Play! developed by Skills Canada-Ontario and unveiled on March 22, was inspired by a module developed for the CAW's week-long Women in Skilled Trades and Technology Awareness program. The game is intended to draw young people (particularly young women) into the trades in an effort to help fill current and future gaps in an aging Canadian labour market.

CAW National Coordinator Teresa Weymouth said that part of the union's skilled trades awareness program helps participants identify what is involved in obtaining a skilled trades designation. The board game module is a logical extension of that objective.

"We wanted to develop something based on that program which we could adapt for students and show them that the trades could be a first-choice career option," Weymouth said in an interview with the Windsor Star.

The goal of the game is for players to move game pieces through a cartoon drain pipe, answering questions in order to move forward. Players can build up their tool box by answering questions correctly, with the goal of earning a Red Seal certification award. Questions help educate players on the types of trade classifications and workplace safety standards, among other topics.

Skills Canada-Ontario Executive Director Gail Smyth said she was intrigued by the union's idea and thought it useful for the provincial agency to partner with like-minded women in the CAW.

"The mandate at Skills Canada-Ontario is to promote the skilled trades as viable, first-choice options for Ontario youth. What better way to engage youth than through a board game?"

Skills Canada-Ontario plans to use the game within a broad-based student outreach initiative that will be brought to over 2000 schools across the province.

CAW Director of Skilled Trades Pat Blackwood said it's vitally important for young Canadians to view the trades as an attractive career option, as a means to fuel greater economic prosperity.

"Trades work in Canada is highly skilled and knowledge-intensive yet far too often considered a secondary option for young students searching for a career path," Blackwood said. "I firmly believe our economic prosperity will be built through the trades, and hope this wonderful game helps break down some of the barriers to involvement."

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