Co-op students strut their stuff

Graham McTavish wants to be a millwright.
The grade 12 student at Fort Frances High School has spent three hours a day this term welding at Abitibi-Consolidated as a co-op student. And yesterday, during “Co-op Display Day,” he displayed the fruits of his labour.
“I figured if I learned [welding], it would be an asset to the job,” McTavish said.
“We needed a project for the semester so I built this for tools,” he added, pointing to the portable work bench he created from the ground up.
It stands about four feet high and is mounted on large, sturdy wheels for easy mobility. It contains about dozen shelves for storing a variety of tools and accessories, a drawer which can hold large items, plus a level work area on top with a vise anchored in one corner.
And it all closes up so nothing falls out when you wheel it from one end of the workshop to the other.
“It took me about two months to make it,” McTavish said, noting the design was sturdy enough that it shouldn’t tip over.
McTavish’s portable work bench attracted a lot of attention, especially from Fort High teacher Norm Guenette.
“He should make one for his teacher,” he laughed.
McTavish was one of many students who got to show off what they had learned at their co-op placement this semester.
Charmaine Langlais is taking her co-op at Canada Customs here this term. Although her main job is to observe what other officers are doing, she’s found it to be quite educational.
“It was a good experience,” she said. “I plan to further my career into law so that’s why I chose customs. There’s lots of branches you can go off with customs, which I thought was pretty neat.”
Shannon Lake, who has been doing her placement at Tammi’s Flower Garden here, said she wanted to try out a job which would incorporate her creativity with her love of gardening and flowers.
“I’ve gained a lot of job experience, working with customers and working with flower arrangements,” she added. “It’s not just throwing a bunch of flowers together. There’s a professional way of doing it.”
Teacher Nancy Gillon said the students have a lot to benefit from the program, which started here in 1971.
“I find it helps students make a decision that this is a career I want or the even the opposite, this is a career I don’t want,” she remarked.