Sometimes a work placement opportunity comes up that is so interesting and different, it’s hard to pass up. This is what happened to Sylvain at D’Arcy McGee High School in Gatineau.
MakerSpace North is a rental working space that helps the development of projects and supports local entrepreneurs, emerging start-ups, and small businesses. It is designed to be a community space and acts as an incubator. Every business within MakerSpace North operates independently, offering services, products, or workshops. The various enterprises create alongside one another, sometimes sharing tools, equipment, resources, and knowledge. Companies, entrepreneurs, and artists rent the space to create a community that does things like CNC Routing, laser cutting, 3D printing, soap making, and running a tool library. Artists work with wood, leather, and paint, while others produce solar energy systems, designer clothing, and computer games or do printmaking, small-batch distilling, and robotics.
This was not a typical job with a straightforward set of tasks and responsibilities, which was fine with his work placement coordinator, Jenn Williams, who felt that this was such a unique work opportunity for a Prework student.
Sylvain did so many varied tasks at his placement that it is difficult for him to explain a “typical” day. In fact, every day was different with a host of new skills to learn and interesting challenges. This was one of the things he liked so much about this job. He was essentially put into a helper role with the various companies that were tenants and part of MakerSpace North. He worked with an array of tools and had the opportunity to be part of production teams in a very artistic and creative work space.
Sylvain had the chance to meet many of these entrepreneurs and artists and became very familiar with the workshop. In fact, he sometimes showed people around and helped them get settled into their rental space.
Every morning he would meet with his supervisor, and they would discuss where Sylvain would be working and some of the tasks for the day. Each day was a little different as there were many diverse work activities going on. He was given a fair amount of opportunity to work with the CNC machine (a computer-controlled cutting machine) and was involved in the final finishing process for wood products that were cut. He did some sanding and oil finishing. He also was responsible for keeping the CNC work area clean and making sure it was a safe and clean environment. He worked on an assembly line for an escape room puzzle box that was created by one of the companies. In the assembly line he helped compose the box that was filled with an assortment of locks, instructions, and props for the puzzle. He also got a chance to work with a laser cutter and even created a personal project on his own time (a gift for his teacher, Jenn Williams).
During his placement, he had the chance to talk with his supervisor about some of the plans MakerSpace North had for a program for local youth. The program would be designed to show them how to use some of the really unique tools and be exposed to the creative workshop approach. Sylvain thinks that this space is so valuable for small businesses and artists and really is a great way to support people who have new and inspiring business ideas.
He learned many specific skills in this placement because of the unique tools and very interesting products that the various companies made. Not many workshops have such a diverse work environment. This placement also put him in contact with a variety of individuals, and his people skills came in handy.
This was a really great opportunity for Sylvain, and he is excited to be going back for one final placement. He knows it will be interesting and that he will learn new skills. He can’t even begin to imagine some of the fascinating things he will get a chance to see and do!