Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mike Holmes Uses Star Power To Encourage Students

I'm currently compiling all the various videos, photos, and articles that resulted from last night's airing of the Mike Holmes 10th anniversary special that premiered on HGTV in Canada. Since I try to do things right around here, I thought I'd give myself one more day to tighten up all the loose ends. In the mean time, enjoy this article about Mike's recent appearance at the GO TO COLLEGE recruitment event held at Northern College. In the article, the author quotes Mike as stating that he believes the government should incoporate shop class back into public schools. Things like welding and carpentry were taught to kids when Mike was in school, and now they're not. The author also quotes Mike as celebrating an increase of women in the trades, and how Mike encourages parents to have a more balanced discussion with their children about entering the skilled trades as a career choice.

For more information about this, please refer to previous Holmes Spot blog entries:
Mike Holmes To Speak At The Northern College Of Applied Arts And Techology



Holmes uses star power to encourage students 

By Benjamin Aubé

A full house at Northern College received some sound career advice from the king of home improvement, Mike Holmes. The television star explained the importance of young people following their dreams of working in skilled trades, especially with a shortage of skilled workers  across Canada.
A full house at Northern College received some sound career advice from the king of home improvement, Mike Holmes. The television star explained the importance of young people following their dreams of working in skilled trades, especially with a shortage of skilled workers across Canada.

TIMMINS - A man whose name across the world has become synonymous with building homes – and making things right – was greeted by a zealous contingent of students and fans at Northern College in Timmins on Monday.
In the college's jam-packed gymnasium, TV star Mike Holmes delivered an animated speech on the current status and future of working in trades.
His decade-long run in television includes his most recent hit show, Holmes Makes it Right, where he visits homes that have been mishandled by previous contractors and helps homeowners solve their issues and recoup their losses.
He explained that his show, and some of his work behind the scenes – which includes working with Skills Canada, SOS Children's Villages, and relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina – is all about teaching others the emphasis of doing things right.
Holmes main point, though, was to prove to young students how important and beneficial a future career in the trades business might be.
"By 2021, we will be short 2.6 million workers in the trades," said Holmes. "People, like me, are starting to retire over the next 15 years, and this is not a good thing.
"I didn't come up with these numbers," he said. "I look at the economics of that, and we're talking a load of money that should be going to taxes, that should be going to the country. When it hits 2.6 million (workers short in trades) in 2021, if we don't do something now, that's going to be a big problem. Who's going to fix it, who's going to build it? And that's the bottom line here, not to mention economics. I see it moving in the right direction. we just need a little push."
Holmes, whose involvement with Skills Canada has brought him in touch with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, praised the government for investing $47 billion over 10 years in infrastructure funding. He said this will guarantee work will be available for young, upcoming Canadian workers.
But he also said there is work to be done.
"You should be automatically licensed across the country and not just in specific provinces," said Holmes. "Those are simple changes we need to make on a federal level that will make us see huge improvements in the trades.
"I would also like to see the government put back into Grade 6, 7 and 8, things like welding, carpentry, sheet metal," he said. "When I was a kid, it was in school, and now it's not. That was a huge mistake – and I understand the cutbacks – but it was a mistake because it's about the temptation. When he or she gets to touch the wood or build something, or gets to fold some metal or do a bit of welding, all of a sudden something clicks. They say, 'I like this, I want to get into the trades.'"
Holmes also noted a large change in the perception of trades work over the past 15 years. Bygone are the days of "the plumber with his crack hanging out," in his words. In a world where working in trades is already lucrative, and will only become more so, he added parents have a responsibility in the big picture as well.
"I think parents need to hear the opportunity for kids to be in the trade," said Holmes. "I think now that we are seeing a huge change in the trades, that it's cool, that it's good to get into."
Sporting his trademark overalls and his steel-toe boots, Holmes said the workforce does have at least one important thing going for it.
"Last year alone, we saw a 6% increase in Canada in women in trades, and I think that's awesome," said Holmes. "The reason I say that is because this is not a man's world.
"To see the women get in the trades is huge opportunity. First, for the shortage of workers that we have, and that's coming and will make things even worse.
“And secondly, women have a tendency to keep men honest. I think it's about time all those macho bull-heads out there move aside. Maybe they should retire, and bring in the young, bring in the women. I want to see it."
Holmes' plea to young people seemed to have struck a chord with the students at Northern College. In fact, so many students lined up to ask questions that they ran out of time halfway through the question period.
"I don't care what you do, whatever you want to do, you better like what you do," said Holmes, offering up some final advice. "Because if you don't like it, get the hell out. Find out what you like. Get into the colleges.
"I want to help educate. If we keep teaching just the bare minimum, we're just going to keep making the same mistakes."
The message certainly got through to Melissa Blais, a first year civil engineering student at Northern College. Blais, a mother and a wife, decided to return to school and pursue her passion.
Blais was also awarded with the $1,500 Holmes Foundation's Make It Right Bursary (more information on the foundation is available at, an honour she earned after a selection process that included references from former teachers and responding to a handful of essay questions.
"This is like a dream come true," said Blais. "After I won the bursary, I had a dream I was standing by a table full of desserts and Mike Holmes was there. I told my husband about it, but I just brushed it off. You just don't think that's going to happen.
"I do know there are a lot of women out there who want to make their homes livable and nice for their families. They do interior decorating, and some go as far as I did, doing the drywall and the plastering and seeing what's underneath that.
“If you like that, go back to school, learn about it, and do it for a living, because you should be doing what you love for a living instead of just going to work and doing the same old thing."

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