A high school in Penetanguishene is offering an unique course for students who want to get into trades after they graduate.

Operating a chainsaw isn’t typically part of the high school curriculum but it was on Thursday at Ecole Secondaire Le Caron.

“I’ve learned a lot of new ways to hand the chainsaw and it’s going to be a lot safer so I’ll be more confident using it, knowing I can use it to,” says student Mathieu Desroches.

Students are enrolled in the high skills major construction program that offers additional training for grade 11 and 12 students. On Thursday, the teens were working on their chainsaw safety training; a certification and skill that will help many of them in the workforce.

“Whether it be for co-op or summer job, they will be more employable than any other student that applies. In that sense they definitely have an advantage. They don’t have to go spend money, the training is $125 cost they don’t have to pay,” says teacher Jonathan Hamel.

Desroches already works in construction and can see the benefit of having the certification.

“It’s great actually because right now I do this kind of work for a job so it’s going to help me a lot more on the job site and it’s going to help me in my lifetime.”

Before students started cutting, they had to complete a three-hour theory class to learn the technique before they handled the equipment.

Instructor Dale Thompson works as a safety consultant and says not only will these students be better prepared for the trades but this skill will help keep the teens safe when operating a chainsaw at home.  

“Especially in our rural areas where we have people who still heat with wood and wood stoves and fire wood that kind of thing – it’s an important skill to have.”

Renee Laurin is a prime example; she doesn’t plan on using her certification to apply for jobs but she keen to know how to use one.

“We have a farm, we have six cows and sometimes you have to make trails for cows, you have to make more space for them so it’s good to have a chainsaw licence so if you have to cut something down you’re on it.”