Georgian launching new pre-apprenticeship program in Owen Sound
April 18, 2019

An exciting new pre-apprenticeship program at the 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 five different trades including welding, electrician, millwright, carpentry and the primary trade, boilermaker, allowing them to explore the career that’s right for them. The program also includes academic upgrading to prepare students for apprenticeship-level math, communications and science.

A major highlight of this program is the 12-week paid field placement at the Bruce Power site provided by various unions and Bruce Power suppliers. Students will focus on one trade during their work placement.

Bruce Power and its affiliated unions and suppliers have collaborated with Georgian to deliver this program. Bruce Power’s Director of Construction, Rob Hoare, is thrilled this program is being offered locally.

“We are proud to partner with Georgian College on this initiative,” says Rob. “Bruce Power’s upcoming refurbishment is the biggest infrastructure project in Canada and requires highly skilled, highly competent tradespeople to safely and successfully execute the work. A lot of those people are right here in our community, and it’s simply a matter of giving them the right tools and training for the job.”

The five core trades in which participants will receive training – welding, electrician, millwright, carpentry and boilermaker – are the top trades required by Bruce Power for its Major Component Replacement Project. 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 people a clear path into local apprenticeship jobs and training. The maximum intake of 20 participants has been filled and they will receive effective hands-on training and personalized program options.

This pre-apprenticeship program is part of an ongoing strategy by Georgian to increase trades training at the Owen Sound Campus. To date, five new apprenticeship programs have been approved: Educational Assistant, Electrician (both Industrial and Construction-Maintenance), Hairstyling, and Millwright. Georgian will launch the Educational Assistant and Electrician programs in 2019-2020 and Millwright in 2020-2021, with Hairstyling to follow.

A young male in brown coveralls and a welding mask. He's welding a piece of metal. There is a blonde female behind him.

Fred Varkaris, Dean of the Owen Sound Campus, says increasing Georgian’s skilled trades offerings is important for several reasons.

“Increasing our apprenticeship programs helps more people acquire the expertise that’s essential to success in this new economy,” says Fred. “We know our local industries desperately need skilled people so it’s crucial to encourage more people to enter the skilled trades.”

He adds that they received a large number of applications for the pre-apprenticeship program, which demonstrates a need in the community for this type of training.

“This new program in particular gives students the opportunity to test out a number of trades and pursue a career they’re passionate about,” says Fred. “It takes the guesswork out of finding a career and we expect it will diversify the local skilled trades workforce by offering a defined pathway to employment.”

This pre-apprenticeship program will start on April 29 and the work placement portion will end on Dec. 20.