Georgian launching new pre-apprenticeship program in Owen Sound
November 29, 2019

An exciting new pre-apprenticeship program at Georgian College’s Owen Sound Campus will help train more skilled trades workers and fill the many tradespeople job openings across the Grey-Bruce community.

This 34-week program gives participants a hands-on introduction to the construction and maintenance electrician trade, along with welding. The program also includes academic upgrading to prepare students for apprenticeship-level math, communications and science. Twenty-two weeks of in-school training begins in April 2020, followed by a 12-week paid work placement.

Bill Walker, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and Associate Minister of Energy, was on campus today to make the announcement.

Pre-apprenticeship is a great way to get a taste of the trades

“This is great news for our area, Georgian College and students of all ages who would like to pursue a career in the skilled trades,” said Walker. “About one in five new jobs in Ontario over the next five years is expected to be in trades-related occupations.”

Bruce Power – along with the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW), Employment Ontario (Y Employment Services, VPI) and the Huronia Area Aboriginal Management Board – have collaborated with Georgian to deliver this program. Bruce Power’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Cathy Sprague, is thrilled the program is being offered locally.

“The pre-apprentice program is an important partnership between Georgian, Bruce Power, CUSW and our construction contractors, which will provide local candidates with a combination of in-class training and hands-on work experience leading to a rewarding career in the skilled trades,” said Sprague. “Bruce Power can’t do this on our own so we are truly appreciative of these important partnerships in our community.”

CUSW is committed to providing placements for all 20 participants with various regional employers, and especially with Bruce Power.

“The demand for skilled tradespersons will grow over the coming years and pre-apprenticeship programs like this provide innovative partnerships that benefit the community, industry partners and those persons who are looking for the support to begin a successful career in the skilled trades,” said John Wabb, First Vice President, CUSW.

The trades in which participants will receive training will fill a critical need; it’s estimated that Bruce Power alone will need 591 construction and maintenance electricians by 2024. They are also in high demand in industries across the province.

In addition to academic upgrading and trades training, the program has a strong focus on safety and prepares students to work in industrial and construction environments. Upon successful completion of the program and a satisfactory work term, the unions are committed to hiring graduates as apprentices, offering local residents a clear path into local apprenticeship jobs and training. With a maximum intake of 20, participants will receive effective hands-on training and personalized program options.

A row of people dressed in business attire

Georgian’s pre-apprenticeship strategy

This pre-apprenticeship program is part of an ongoing strategy by Georgian to increase trades training at the Owen Sound Campus. To date, seven new apprenticeship programs have been approved: Educational Assistant, Boilermaker, Automotive Service Technician, Electrician (both Industrial and Construction-Maintenance), Hairstyling, and Millwright. Georgian launched Educational Assistant in fall 2019 and will launch Electrician in January 2020. Boilermaker, Automotive Service Technician and Millwright will start later in 2020, with Hairstyling to follow.

Ashleigh Hoszowski recently completed the in-class portion of the multi-trades, pre-apprenticeship program at the Owen Sound Campus and said it provided her with valuable hands-on experience. “This program gave me the fundamentals to confidently start my career on day one,” she said.

Lisa Taylor, Executive Director of the Owen Sound Campus, said increasing Georgian’s skilled trades offerings is important for several reasons.

“Initiatives such as this pre-apprenticeship program are vital to both developing a local skilled labour pool to meet industry needs and to providing individuals who want to develop their skills and enter new careers with a local pathway to do so,” said Taylor. “Georgian is proud to be a key partner in helping our local employers to grow, and in helping our learners to achieve career goals with the capacity to transform their lives.”

The pre-apprenticeship program will start on April 27, with the work placement portion ending on Dec. 18.

While not limited to these groups, recruitment for the program will target youth aged 16 to 29, unemployed persons, women and Indigenous peoples.

Anyone interested in this program can contact Debbie DeWhite at debbie.dewhite@georgiancollege.ca or call 519.376.0840.