Exploring The Skilled Trades

Virtual Shop Class Looks To Inspire Future Generation Of Tradespeople While Teaching Valuable Diy Skills

Jason Burns
Sr Content Strategist

Posted 04/29/2020

Starting May 5th, Generation T will launch Virtual Shop Class, an eight-week series of online classes for kids (and parents, too!) aimed at helping to introduce the skilled trades to younger generations. Hosted by 20-year construction veteran Demi Clark from She Built This City, the program will teach the basics of building including an introduction to tools, basics of DIY work around the home, and fun projects using materials found around the house. 

As of 2019, only 14% of secondary schools across the country offer shop class, leaving a massive gap in the number of young people exposed to introductory building skills such as carpentry, plumbing, and basic home repair. This lack of exposure has left today’s youth lacking basic do-it-yourself (DIY) skills such as how to use a hammer, screwdriver, or saw. Most don’t know the difference between a flat head or Phillip’s screwdriver. Through this program, Generation T hopes to use virtual technology to bring shop class into your living room and introduce families to skills that would normally be taught in a classroom setting, albeit on a smaller scale.

“With so many kids transitioning to home learning, we saw a perfect opportunity to bring shop class to the students. Kids and parents will have an opportunity to learn about basic DIY and homebuilding skills,” said Demi Clark, founder of She Built This City and education contributor to Generation T. “It’s a great opportunity to connect with young people and give them a basic understanding of some of the skills they would normally be learning in shop class. And we’ll apply those skills to fun projects and show them how this connects with possible career paths in the skilled trades.”

The series will be presented live on the Generation T Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/WeAreGenerationT/) every Tuesday, beginning at Noon, EDT. The first eight 30-minute episodes will cover the following topics:


May 5th

Intro to Shop Class!
In our first class, we’ll cover some basic tools you’ll need to start your toolset and show you how to safely use some of the basic tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, saws and nails. Plus, learn more about some basic kinds of construction materials we’ll be using in the coming weeks. 

Watch Week 1 Class Here

May 12th

Basic Carpentry 101 – Bee Pollinator

Carpentry is a skilled trade and a craft in which the primary work performed is the cutting, shaping, and installation of building materials made from wood. In this lesson, we’ll show you of the basics of carpentry and build your first project – a Bee Pollinator! 

Watch Week 2 Class Here

May 19th

Advanced Carpentry 201 – Dog Bowl Set
Building on the basic skills you learned in your first carpentry class, we’ll dive a little deeper and used some advanced techniques to build something for the family pet - a dog bowl set from crates.

Watch Class 3 Here

May 26th

Basic Plumbing Skills
Have you ever wondered how water flows through a house? Or how to fix a broken pipe? In this week’s lesson, we’ll teach you a few of the basic skills needed to diagnose and learn how to fix pipes, and when you should call a plumber.

June 2nd

Do It Yourself Creativity Spinner

Another adaptive reuse project – the creativity spinner for kids!  Gather up those paper towel tubes & toilet paper roll holders, glue sticks & a lazy susan – and you’re in business!  We’ll be cutting, using the glue gun to secure & decorating/spray painting for a fun way to keep your summer projects neat, organized, and reused from the house.

June 9th

HVAC 101: Teach your kids about home maintenance and HVAC from a young age – especially while we’re around the house more this summer! We’ll be going over these basics:

  • Making it memorable (checking and changing the air filter, hosing down the outdoor condenser coil, dusting the registers)
  • Rewarding good energy habits (closing the doors when leaving the house, turning on exhaust fans when showering)
  • Making energy efficiency a family activity – sealing leaks, smoke pencils

We’ll also be making a FUN, easy portable air conditioner out of Lowe’s buckets, a fan, ice & some PVC pipe – perfect for outdoor cooling, garages & kids activity zones!

June 16th

Working with PVC Pipe - Building a Homemade Car Wash

Grab the leftover sponges, plastic tablecloths, windsocks & streamers – we’ll be making the kids their own “car wash” for bikes, trikes, and kids themselves!  Hours of fun in the summer & unique designs with lots of color options – put together with PVC pipe & some simple drilling for the waterworks!

June 23rd

Building a Kids Work Bench

One of the biggest indicators of success with younger kids in the workshop is having “a space of their own” at their own size.  We’ll be building a kid’s workbench out of three simple materials – pegboard, 2x4 and 1x4 wood – giving smaller builders the foundation to dreaming up BIG projects in the future.