Steel shutdown: The next generation of workers

On Wednesday, about 100 Grade 9 students visited ArcelorMittal Dofasco as part of Take Your Kid to Work Day. Here's what a couple of them had to say about the experience and about the prospect of working in the steel industry.

More than 100 Grade 9 students visited ArcelorMittal Dofasco for Take Your Kid to Work Day

Grade 9 student Julia Barnes-James shares her thoughts on accompanying her mother Carolyn Barnes to work at ArcelorMittal Dofasco. 1:02

Reports of the total demise of jobs in Hamilton’s steel industry have been greatly exaggerated.

It's Work Week at CBC Hamilton. In light of the last week’s news of U.S. Steel shutting down its Hamilton steel manufacturing operation, we are taking a look at jobs in Hamilton: where they have gone, what remains, and which industries are desperate for employees. 

In fact, Hamilton's ArcelorMittal Dofasco says it’s looking to hire more than 1,000 workers over the next three to five years, and will likely be looking for more new talent as Baby Boomers continue to leave the workforce.

On Wednesday, just more than 100 Grade 9 students with a parents who work at the Hamilton manufacturing giant got a preview of what opportunities might await them should choose to pursue a career in steel. Participating in the province’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, the teens got to shadow mum or dad, tour the facilities, and ask what type of education they would need for a job in the industry.

CBC Hamilton talked to two of the youngsters — and their moms — about the experience. Here’s what they had to say: 

Christopher Pappin, Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School, Ancaster

Christopher Pappin, left, and his mother Angela (Cory Ruf/CBC)

Parent: Angela Pappin, General manager of metallurgy, quality and new product development

What’s it like for you, Angela, to get to take your son to work today?

Angela Pappin: It’s been an exciting to share my experiences with my son, for him to see the steel mill, but also to see the day-to-day of what I have to do — to attend meetings and interact with a lot of people to solve problems.

What was the highlight of your day, Christopher?

Christoper Pappin: Probably the steel-making. It was really interesting to see how they do it. And also the blast furnaces.

Has this experience influenced your future career plans?

Now I really want to go into engineering or something like that because my mom’s in it.

Julia Barnes-James, Aldershot High School, Burlington

Julia Barnes-James, left, and her mother Carolyn Barnes (Cory Ruf/CBC)

Parent: Carolyn Barnes, environmental manager

What’s it like for you, Carolyn, to get to take Julia to work today?

I really enjoyed the experience. I also liked the 100th anniversary experience because we got to have a tour inside the plant. I work inside the plant gate, and I couldn’t normally bring Julia into the office. So I really enjoyed giving her the opportunity to come into my office and meet my coworkers and see part of the plant. It was great.

Has today changed your impression of the environment in which your mother works?

The actual environment that she works in is an office. But touring the plant and the rest of the factory was really interesting. And I got to see more about what she does amounts to and less of what she actually does.

Has this experience influenced your future career plans?

I don’t really know what I want to do in the future. But this company would have a lot of good opportunities for me because I am most interested in the subjects of math and science

What was the most exciting thing you experienced today?

The most exciting thing was the really huge machinery and lots of molten steel. But I think it’s what’s behind those giant pots of molten steel that is really important. 

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.


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