Ontario boosts apprenticeship program with $37 million investment

Program includes $5 million for foreign-trained workers, will also increase access to state-of-the-art training

The Ontario government is investing $37 million into apprentice training, including $5 million to help foreign-trained workers become certified in the province.

“Our plan is to build an economy based on high skills and high standards,” said Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “An important part of achieving that goal is strengthening our greatest competitive advantage: the skills and expertise of Ontario’s workers.”

How the money will be spent

•$20 million will go to the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund. It will give more apprentices hands-on training and better classroom instruction by updating facilities and equipment at 24 community colleges.

•$6 million will go to the Pre-Apprenticeship Program. It will help more than 600 experienced workers develop their skills to be eligible to become apprentices in the program. The program includes a workplace placement for participants that can last up to 40 weeks.

•$6 million for the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program. It will give apprentices greater access to skilled trade courses at seven more colleges.

•$5 million for the Apprenticeship Innovation Fund. It will help internationally trainined individuals become certified in Ontario so they can enter the job market quicker.

Joy McKinnon, dean of the faculty of technology at George Brown College in Toronto, said the money will help the college expand its ability to serve employers looking to train their skilled workers and provide more opportunities for people to pursue rewarding careers in the skilled trades.

Ontario said it’s apprenticeship program is the largest in Canada and provides access to careers in more than 136 trades in construction, manufacturing and industry, motive power, automotive maintenance and service sectors.

A look at the programs

Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program: The Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program will provide opportunities for 620 people to strengthen their skills and become eligible for an apprenticeship in a specific skilled trade.

People who want a career in the skilled trades can apply for a course that provides the technical training necessary to become an apprentice in a specific trade. The course includes a workplace placement to give each participant real work experience and can last up to 40 weeks.

Many programs will offer participants the opportunity to upgrade their academic skills to the minimum academic requirement for the trade in which they are training. Participation in the program is free. The government is investing over $6 million in 32 projects this year.

People interested in participating in the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program should call the JobGrow Hotline at 1-888-JobGrow, or 416-326-5656 in the Toronto area, for details about individual projects.

Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program: Expansion of the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program provides more opportunities for young people looking for a direct path to apprenticeship training while obtaining a college diploma. Five new integrated curricula were developed to broaden the number of courses available to young people.

The new skilled trades and diploma courses include:

•industrial mechanic millwright/Manufacturing engineering technician and mechanical technician;
•automotive service technician/motive power technician;
•truck and coach technician/motive power technician;
•heavy duty equipment technician/motive power technician; and
•agricultural equipment technician/motive power technician.

In September 2004, six colleges began providing courses for about 190 young people to train to become cooks, general machinists, machine tool builders and integrators, mould makers, tool makers, and tool and die makers.

Thirteen colleges will offer the program in September 2005. The Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program creates a smoother transition between apprenticeship training and college certificate, diploma and other postsecondary credential programs.

In addition to trades training, students in the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program also receive instruction in entrepreneurship since many apprentices set up their own business once they become certified skilled workers.

The $6 million investment will grow to $9 million in 2005-06, the province said.

Apprenticeship Innovation Fund: Through the Apprenticeship Innovation Fund, the provincial government is investing $5 million to help internationally trained trades people become certified so that they can continue their careers in Ontario. The program supports the development of specific curricula for new and existing apprenticeship programs, and the development of exemption tests which determine what a prospective apprentice already knows about practising a specific skilled trade.

To help the internationally trained more quickly enter the job market, the government provides:

•Two bridge training projects that will help 100 internationally trained industrial electricians, construction and maintenance electricians and industrial mechanic/millwrights to prepare to write their certification exams and continue their careers in Ontario.

•An assessment of work experience documentation at 26 locations across the province and referral to World Education Services for an assessment of international education credentials.

•Access to translators or readers, as well as extended writing times to help complete an exam, and opportunities for a prompt rewrite for internationally trained skilled workers writing certification exams.

•A process to appeal decisions on whether an internationally trained tradesperson is eligible to write a certification exam and the results of an exam.

•Referrals to local colleges providing pre-certification courses or bridge training to help internationally trained skilled workers upgrade their skills or learning, as well as to settlement and other community-based organizations that can provide a range of services, such as language training.

•Career maps prepared in collaboration with industry committees on the ministry's web site that provide a road map for entry to practice in 10 skilled trades.

To ensure clear, transparent services to internationally trained tradespeople who want to continue their careers in Ontario, the provincial government will issue a call for proposals to strengthen these services.

The aim of these proposals will be to provide enhanced tools and information to further the government's understanding of the issues facing internationally trained individuals seeking certification.

The Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund: Through the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund, the Ontario government is investing in community colleges to renew and equip their facilities to train more apprentices to industry standards of excellence. Ontario needs more skilled workers to keep its economy strong.

The $20 million fund provides colleges with the resources to provide hands-on training to more apprentices, support classroom training for new skilled trades, improve the efficiency of apprenticeship classroom instruction, and remove barriers to training for persons with disabilities.

The province allocated $7 million through competition, while the remaining $13 million was assigned through a direct funding formula reflecting the number of apprentices trained at each community college.

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