With the decline in the economy and everyone working towards a brighter future, now is as important as ever to focus on the leaders of tomorrow, our youth. As a community it is imperative to strive to enforce "Youth Skill Development" by providing our youth with relevant, up-to-date training as to ensure they excel in any chosen field of work. It is as well vital to support the concept of "Youth Retention" by helping create connections to local employers and opportunities. Today, a lot is being done to ensure the future of our community's workforce. "Statistics show that these students that get connected to employment upon leaving school do better in their careers," states Mark Roth, whom of which works in connection with many youth related projects and apprenticeships.
"We try to showcase and highlight local examples of students with similar backgrounds and encourage students to use them as role models," remarks Roth on the important concept of youth retention.
Mark Roth sits on the board of the technical training group and is as well a tech and Co-op teacher at Stratford Northwestern Secondary School. The Technical Training Group is a non-for-profit organization that has a 12 member volunteer board of directors. The TTG's main focus is to aid Stratford and its surrounding area in gaining the skills necessary to a meaningful profession in the trades. One of its goals relevant to youth skill development is "to support opportunities for youth to explore career options in the skilled trades/" The TTG works in partnership with Stratford Northwestern Secondary School, and St. Michaels Catholic School. In fact, the TTG in partnership with Northwestern Secondary School is home to the provinces first welding apprentice program.
The welding Apprentice Program allows youth, skilled in tech, to showcase their talent in a field of work they enjoy and excel in. This utilizes the concept of the importance of developing skills in youth prior to exciting the formal education system. The welding Program employs seven highly competent welding faculties including, Certified Engineering Technologist, Welding Technologist, a C of Q Welder, and an Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Millwright.
"It is a highly successful program and the model has been endorsed by levels of the government; it provides our local community with post-secondary training as a training delivery agent for the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities," comments Roth who is instrumental to the success of the program.
Roth partakes in other activities in cooperation with the Perth County Economic Development Office, ensuring the development of skills in our youth. He co-ordinates certification on training for local needs such as St. Johns Ambulance First Aid, WHMIS, forklift training, overhead crane, fall arrest, elevated platform training, etc. He is also actively involved in other TTG youth initiatives like FUNTECH and STEP. He strives to encourage students to be linked with their community hours related to employer groups for future networking.
"My focus is simple, I want as many graduating students as possible to be working and paying taxes when they exit the school system," says Roth, "it is the return on the investment so to speak that society should expect from our government supported education system."