Contest will provide materials and resources and spur Golden Horseshoe high school students exploring construction and tech careers


    GTA Construction Report special feature

    A new contest, being launched in partnership between Kickass Careers, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), and several Golden Horseshoe area school boards, aims to engage, educate and encourage high school students exploring careers in the mechanical, technology, construction, science, engineering, math, and advanced manufacturing sectors.

    The MITC Contest, a pilot program introduced by Jamie McMillan, founder of KickAss Careers, will provide much needed funding for the materials, tools, consumables and protective equipment these programs require to run successfully. The funds will be generated directly by the students’ efforts. “One teacher I spoke with said he receives only $1,800 a year. That isn’t even enough to buy consumables.”

    McMillan says it isn’t uncommon for these kinds of career programs to have to depend on donated materials and scrap in order to give students the hands-on learning they require that will really engage them.

    The contest will require a team of four to six students, who must represent both male and female students, from grades 11 and 12 to design, build and sell a product. The project’s budget is $1,000 and the design must include components from one to three of a variety of programs including welding, manufacturing, woodworking, automotive, electrical, plumbing, and robotics.

    McMillan is hoping for 12 schools to participate, which will represent the Golden Horseshoe Catholic and Public school boards. “We would love to see this expanded to include other areas in the future.”

    During the first two weeks of the contest, students will submit a business plan, a basic blueprint for their design, and a $1,000 quote that must include any materials, personal protective equipment, and additional tools or miscellaneous costs required.

    Judges will then award $1,000 to each of the top designs (determined based on sponsorships received). During the next 12 weeks of the contest, students will build and sell their product to the community to generate revenue for their classroom budgets. The contest will help them to develop business and entrepreneurial skills as well as practical hands-on skills.

    As part of connecting the students to industry, and to help increase the amount of $1,000 project awards, opportunities to become a sponsor, provide scholarships or donations are available. Mentorship is also welcome. McMillan will herself spend time in each school working with the teams. “We’re are planning to award the top three teams with prizes and hoping sponsors and partners will provide scholarships to technical colleges and/or tool kits.”

    A special dinner to reward the winners will invite parents and sponsors to celebrate and recognize the students and their achievements.

    For more information, or to get involved, contact Jamie McMillan at or visit


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