Ben Poirier has always enjoyed working with his hands.
For the last few months, the Oakville 19-year-old has been gaining valuable hands-on experience working for contractor Bob Assadourian, of Triple R. Inc.
Working on a Hamilton Mountain basement renovation, Poirier has done everything from insulation, foundation repair, drywall installation, framing, tiling, and flooring.
Assadourian, based in Stoney Creek, connected with Poirier through the Center for Skills Development, an independent charity that delivers free, government-funded programs to help people at various stages of life find career success, according to its website. The Center for Skills Development has offices in Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville and Milton.
“The (centre) is amazing,” said Poirier. “Doing renovations gives you a good understanding of basically everything in the home. I get to learn so many different things and get hands-on experience in all of it, which is great.”
Poirier has been commuting to Hamilton from Oakville every day.
He completed a 20-week program at the Center for Skills Development called Get in Gear, which includes in-class and workplace experience.
“You will do a mix of everything. You do machining, electrical, construction. They try to give you a good understanding of what is out there for you to do,” Poirier noted.
Assadourian was immediately impressed by Poirier’s work ethic and know-how.
“I’ve never had a student that’s educated and experienced as much as Ben for his age,” said Assadourian. “He knew how to operate the table saw. He knew how to use multiple hand tools and power tools. Drywalling skills he had. That was a big advantage for me as an employer that he had that experience.”
Assadourian noted Poirier’s teacher attended the workplace and checked Assadourian’s paperwork for the required certifications before the work experience began.
Poirier is thinking about going back to the Center for Skills Development next April to pursue his interest in becoming an electrician.
Poirier sharpened his skills by following Assadourian’s Cable 14 how-to home renovation show, “Just Ask Bob.” He’s also followed Assadourian’s YouTube channel, which offers a database of instructional videos.
To find out more about skilled trades training partnerships with the Center for Skills Development, visit https://www.centreforskills.ca/.