3.3 C
Friday, November 22, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

Feds provide training funds for new recruits

Breslau-based IBEW union local receives $5.5 million for its apprenticeship and innovation programs


Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

New MP jumps to the next stage

Ever since he was elected as the new Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga during the October...

End of an era for MP

Two weeks having passed since the federal election, Harold Albrecht has had time to reflect on his...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...


light rain
3.3 ° C
5 °
1.1 °
60 %
75 %
4 °
5 °
5 °
6 °
9 °

Apprenticeship and training programs run by the Breslau-based local of the electrical workers’ union got a $5.5-million boost last week courtesy of the federal government.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 804 will use the funds for its pre-apprentice training and retention innovative learning program. The organization expects to train 240 electrical apprentices over the next five years.

The federal program looks to help unions across Canada improve the quality of training through investments for equipment and materials, and support innovation and enhanced partnerships to boost  apprenticeship opportunities. The goal is to make training more accessible to allow more people to get into the trades.

“Participants will benefit from 10 weeks of classroom training, which includes learning hands-on practical skills and critical life safety precautions,” explained Local 804 business manager Mark Watson.

“The 10-week classroom training will be followed by 16 weeks of on-the-job training with a reputable contractor, before being registered as an apprentice, and ultimately becoming a licensed electrician.”

The investment has allowed the IBEW 804 to partner with Desire2Learn (D2L), a Kitchener-based software company, to create an accessible and interactive online learning platform to include in the program.

The program is aimed at those with no prior training experience to give them a solid footing on the road to a career in the trade.

“We recognize that cost can be a barrier for many of the underrepresented groups and therefore this program will be free to all successful applicants,” said Watson.

The IBEW was founded more than a century ago, with the local chapter formed in 1942. IBEW 804 represents some 1,100 electricians and apprentices from Waterloo Region and surrounding areas such as Wellington, Perth, Dufferin, Bruce and Grey counties.

The local is responsible for approximately $600,000 of the cost, along with any unforeseen future expenses.

Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger delivered the news July 4 at the union hall. During the announcement, she said the funding would provide better access to groups who are typically underrepresented in the trades, such as women, military veterans, Indigenous people, and new immigrants to Canada.

“Challenges that women face to entering the trades include barriers caused by lack of mentors and role models, difficulty finding an employer, discrimination, unwelcoming workplaces, and family obligations,” said Chagger. “Indigenous peoples also face similar barriers in addition to others, such as lack of essential skills, lack of awareness, geographic barriers, and insufficient financial support to continue training.

“The trades are essential. These are good jobs; these are skills that will always be needed.”

The funding comes from the $25-million Union Training and Innovation Program, which is divided into two streams: the first is geared towards investments and training equipment, and the second is the innovation and apprentice stream.

Others attending had the chance to share their personal experiences in the skilled trades, and the importance of supporting the industry as a primary career choice.

“We do have some shortages in the trades sometimes; my area, in particular, there’s some machinists that there are shortages of, and welders. We looked at that through our committee to try to fill in those gaps in our workforce,” said Marwan Tabbara, MP for Kitchener South-Hespeler.

Ottawa is also spending $6 million over two years to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people, part of a series of budget measures to in support of apprenticeships and the trades.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.


When disaster strikes, they answer the call

An Elmira couple has dedicated their retirement time to helping people across North America rebuild their lives after a natural disaster strikes. Karen and Willard Martin travel to various...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Team Canada prepares for para ice tournament with training camp at WMC

The Woolwich Memorial Centre was the training ground last week for 22 elite athletes on Canada’s National Para Ice Hockey team. Their presence...

Wellesley working on priorities ahead of budget process

A preliminary budget discussion was very much that Tuesday night as Wellesley councillors met Tuesday night, not even coming up with a tax-rate...

Elmira’s Kambel Beacom gets hockey scholarship to Syracuse

Still a student at EDSS, Elmira’s Kambel Beacom already has her postsecondary plans in place – well, mostly – as she’s received...

Jacks reclaim top spot in standings despite mixed week

Three games in as many nights last week saw the Wellesley Applejacks go 1-1-1. That may not have been what they’d hoped...

Busy weekend sees Sugar Kings pick up five points

Two outta three ain’t bad. But five out of six points is better still, and that’s just what the Elmira Sugar Kings...

Woolwich will need millions to improve standards of its road network, says report

Woolwich should be setting aside millions of dollars to maintain its roads, according to a report released this week.
- Advertisement -