Georgian College to launch new pre-apprenticeship program in Owen Sound

A new pre-apprenticeship program that will train skilled trades workers will begin at Georgian College’s Owen Sound campus in April.

The program will give participants a hands-on introduction to welding and the construction and maintenance electrician trades.

The program also includes academic upgrading to prepare students for apprenticeship-level math, communications and science.

The 34-week program will include 22 weeks of in-school training, followed by a 12-week work placement.

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“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,” Bill Walker, Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound’s MPP, said in a statement.

“About one in five new jobs in Ontario over the next five years is expected to be in trades-related occupations.”

Bruce Power, the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers (CUSW), Employment Ontario and the Huronia Area Aboriginal Management Board have collaborated with Georgian College to deliver the program.

The CUSW will provide placements for all 20 program participants with regional employers, specifically Bruce Power.

By 2024, it’s estimated that Bruce Power alone will need 591 construction and maintenance electricians, according to Georgian College.

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“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,” John Wabb, CUSW’s first vice-president, said in a statement.

If students complete the program and have a satisfactory work term, the union will hire graduates as apprentices, according to the college.

With a maximum intake of 20, Georgian College says participants will receive “effective hand-on training and personalized program options.”

The pre-apprenticeship program is part of Georgian College’s strategy to increase trades training at the Owen Sound campus.

To date, seven new apprenticeship programs have been approved, including ones for educational assistants, boilermakers, automotive service technicians, industrial and construction-maintenance electricians, hairstylists and millwrights.

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The school launched its program for educational assistants in the fall and will launch its program for electricians in January.

Programs for boilermakers, automotive service technicians and millwrights will start later next year, with one for hairstylists to follow.

“Initiatives such as this pre-appenticeship 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,” Lisa Taylor, the executive director of Georgian College’s Owen Sound campus, said in a statement.

The pre-apprenticeship program will start on April 27, with the work placement portion ending on Dec. 18, 2020.

The college says recruitment for the program will target youth aged 16 to 29, unemployed people, women and Indigenous people.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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