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My SWAF Story – Henry

Henry shares his experience of the UGDSB’s School within a Factory program, and describes his journey to earning his high school diploma

When I left high school almost five years ago, I was very uncertain what the future might hold.  I was young and naive about what life would be like after deciding that I didn’t need school anymore.  Friends and family all urged me to go back and finish.  But, when you’re young you have all the answers and no one was going to tell me what to do.

After doing some real soul searching and seeing that the grass was not in fact greener on the other side, I listened to my parents.  They said that if I wasn’t going to go school, then I had to get a job.  I knew that they were right so I applied at Linamar, Roctel to be specific.  Linamar has always been very good to my family as both of my parents work for the company as well. I have always known that I have a future at Linamar.  That future, however, needed to include my high school diploma.

I saw an advertisement for the SWAF (School Within a Factory) program that was being offered at the Frank Hasenfratz Centre of Excellence in Manufacturing.  This let me know that it was never too late to finish high school.  I was only missing a couple of credits so I thought to myself, “What have I got to lose?” I called Jennifer Watson and she told me what I needed to do next to get this process started. To say I was skeptical would be an understatement.  But, the teachers at the program worked tirelessly to make sure that I received the attention needed to push me those last few feet to finish my OSSD.  I was able to meet with them outside of my work hours and they were super flexible.  Part of finishing the diploma was completing co-op credits, which meant I was able to earn credits while working and not having to take time away from the job. I was earning my high school diploma while I was working.  I mean, the only question that I still had was “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

The face of manufacturing is changing and I want to make sure that I am changing and adapting as well.  My diploma is the first step on a journey to becoming a life-long learner.  Linamar has helped put me on the right path to success and this OSSD will make sure that I have the tools to use when I get there.