Building the future of Muskoka: Carpentry pre-apprenticeship program gets green light at Georgian College Muskoka Campus
April 17, 2017

Man works on building a project in the Georgian Muskoka Campus carpentry labCarpenters and the construction industry play a crucial role in the Muskoka economy. A new Georgian program launching in May aims to help more local residents gain the skills they need to start an apprenticeship.

The college has received approval from the Ontario Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development to offer a single intake of Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship in May 2017 at its Muskoka Campus in Bracebridge. This Employment Ontario program is funded by the Government of Ontario.

Training will be provided at no cost to approved applicants. It is already generating strong support from community leaders, the construction sector, and economic development partners in the Muskoka region.

The Muskoka Builders’ Association (MBA) is once again a keen partner with Georgian. The MBC has worked closely with the college in the design of previous pre-apprenticeship programs, ensuring that they meet the needs of both participants and employers. This collaboration has resulted in the development of a comprehensive program to provide participants with the skills and training required to enter the construction industry as a general carpenter apprentice.

Geared towards the unemployed and underemployed residents of the Muskoka area, the program uses the carpentry shops at the Muskoka Campus. The program also provides participants with secondary training and exposure in the fields of welding, solar and plumbing.

“The continuation of the Pre-Apprenticeship program in General Carpentry represents a substantial investment in one of Muskoka’s most important economic sectors, carpentry. This program will continue to help aspiring carpenters acquire real-world experience while allowing them to begin to network and build relationships with possible employers after graduation,” says Huntsville Mayor Scott Aitchison. “Carpentry is a significant job creator in Muskoka. Without the continued investment in properly trained individuals we could see a decrease in employment and reduction of new businesses created in the region.”

Mac Greaves, Campus Principal, Midland and Muskoka and Associate Dean, Apprenticeship, expects demand for the program will be strong.

“The Carpentry Pre-apprenticeship program offers an excellent opportunity for local residents to get a foothold in the construction industry,” Greaves said. “It’s a winning combination – the support of the building industry, top-notch instructors and facilities from Georgian and financial support from the province.”

Construction continues to be the greatest employment sector within Muskoka, comprising 22 per cent of all businesses, but the industry forecasts a national shortfall of one million skilled tradespeople by 2020. Local employers surveyed by the Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board reported that many potential candidates lack relevant work experience and that two thirds of candidates would benefit from essential and employability skills training.

The program is designed to provide that training. It is 25 weeks in length, including an eight-week paid placement.

The program has a limited number of seats available. Anyone seeking information or assistance with applications should contact Sandra Gallagher at 705.646.7629, ext. 4811or muskoka@georgiancollege.ca prior to April 26, 2017.