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Don’t DIS my ABILITIES – Talking Trades with Paul Lafrance and his Daughter Promise

When?6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Thursday, October 14, 2021


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A Learning Disabilities Awareness Month special event presented by the Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury and Cambrian College

Paul Lafrance, Don’t DIS my ABILITIES

In recognition of Learning Disabilities Awareness Month, student(s) in grades 7-12, and their supporters, are invited to a free, interactive, virtual workshop presenting HGTV’s Paul Lafrance and his daughter Promise as they talk about their journeys in the trades. Cambrian’s own Colleen Heidman will also present “Pathways to Careers in Trades" and there will be a presentation on the Dual Credit program, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), and the Glenn Crombie Centre for Accessibility and Wellness.

Jamie Lafrance
Promise Lafrance

Paul Lafrance, most commonly known as the “Deck Guy” both in the Reality TV megacosm as well as in the average North American home, is also a musician, the CEO and founder of the international design company, Paul Lafrance Design, and the father of four daughters. Paul is the host of HGTV’s Home to Win, Custom Built, Decked OutDisaster Decks, and Deck Warsas well as one of the judges on Canada’s Handyman Challenge.  He also moonlights as the head designer at Paul Lafrance Design. Since 1997, he’s been designing and installing everything from groundbreaking backyard retreats, unique interior transformations, and commercial outdoor spaces, to custom-built homes. He is known for his infectious energy, quick wit, and unapologetic rock star style. When commonly asked how he comes up with his designs, Paul’s typical reply is, “I do my very best not to think like an adult!”

Learn more about Paul Lafrance at

Promise Lafrance often accompanied her dad to speaking engagements all over Canada and at one Skills event, she was able to try welding.  She said she knew she had found her calling when she put the welders’ helmet on for the first time, she felt focused. Promise utilized the dual credit program in high school and it led her to a college welding diploma. She graduated in April 2020. Promise is continuing to educate herself in the trades and she is a strong advocate for women in the skilled trades. She speaks to elementary, high school, and college students across Canada. She sees a career in the trades as a solid plan for the future and one that will allow her to work anywhere she chooses!

Joining Paul Lafrance will be Colleen Heidman. Colleen is a Digital Recruiter with Cambrian College. She is a Cambrian graduate, with an advanced diploma in Business Administration and Human Resources Management. There is a lot of talk these days about an abundance of jobs available in the skilled trades. She’ll discuss how to get the qualifications and training needed to get these jobs. In this presentation, Colleen will share the two major pathways to a career in the skilled trades – the traditional apprenticeship process and the College diploma pathway. Both have their advantages, depending on the situation of the student.

Dana Kinsella, Rainbow District School Board
Dan Levecque, Sudbury Catholic District School Board

Students are able to try out the trades in high school. The Dual Credit program is a School/College/Work Initiative (SCWI) that is offered by Cambrian College in partnership with the Rainbow District School Board, Sudbury Catholic District School Board, and Kenjgewin Teg. Dual credit programs are programs approved by the Ministry of Education that allow students, while they are still in secondary school, to take college or apprenticeship course that counts towards both their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, degree, or a Certificate of Apprenticeship. The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program or OYAP is a high school program that allows students to try a huge variety of apprenticeship-based careers in skilled trades, starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program. Dana Kinsella, Rainbow District School Board, and Dan Levecque, Sudbury Catholic District School Board, will talk about both of these amazing programs for secondary school students.

Register before October 11 for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

  • All attendees will be eligible for a chance to win a Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Touchscreen Laptop

Click here for Rules and regulations.

The event is a presentation of Cambrian College, The Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury, the Rainbow District School Board, the Sudbury Catholic District School Board, The School College Work Initiative, and the Ontario Post-secondary Access & Inclusion Program (OPAIP).

School Work Initiative
Cambrian College
Learning Disabilities Association of Sudbury
Rainbow District School Board
Sudbury Catholic District School Board

Learning Disabilities Awareness Month
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