Beth Grayer builds a toolbox for her women in trades discovery program at Camosun College Interurban

Beth Grayer builds a toolbox for her women in trades discovery program at Camosun College Interurban

Easing entry into trades training

Pre-apprenticeship programs at Camosun help trades students find their niche

In Camosun College’s sheet metal workshop, students hammer and contort metal for HVAC systems and toolboxes. Whether they stick with this trade remains to be seen, but the college and the province are trying to make entry into trades education as easy and enticing as possible.

The Ministry of Advanced Education announced recently that it is granting Camosun $349,000 for 68 seats in carpentry and electrical foundation programs, introductory trades training without the onerous requirement of securing an apprenticeship.

That ministry funding also opens 32 seats in the discovery skills program, a pilot project where students dip their toes in a number of trades at the Interurban campus.

“What is intended here is to provide the opportunity to have a more informed entry into trades,” said Olaf Nielsen, chair of trades development and special projects at Camosun. “This helps make a more informed career decision.”

Ministry of Advanced Education-funded seats adds to the 336 funded by the Industry Training Authority at Camosun for foundation programs. The ITA focuses mainly on apprenticeships, and funded 1,812 of those seats at the college this year.

Nielsen said foundation programs help expose more people to less well known but still highly employable trades.

“A lot of individuals don’t have a good picture of the pathways into trades. A lot gravitate towards traditional trades,” he said. “We see some undersubscribed programs where there’s not a lot of awareness, like pipe trades, for example. A lot of students don’t know about being a steamfitter or gas fitter.”

Eric Sehn, Camosun’s dean of trades and technology, said apprenticeship numbers tend to rise and fall with the economy and infrastructure spending.

If companies aren’t hiring and sponsoring apprenticeships, fewer people enter trades training. Trade foundation programs help fill the gap, Sehn said, and gives graduates school credit toward an apprenticeship.

“It’s important during times when the economy is quite soft and vulnerable. Students can join the foundation program without a sponsor,” he said, noting that while shipbuilding is ramping up, some construction related trades have taken a hit over the past few years.

“It can be really challenging to find an apprenticeship when the economy is down and employers aren’t taking on staff.”

The discovery skills program, which covers everything from electrical to auto repair to metal work to welding, is the “trades sampler,” Sehn said, and can lead to a foundation program or even an apprenticeship.

This is the first time the Ministry of Advanced Education has funded discovery skills and opened it to a wider audience – previously the curriculum was focused on specific programs for women and aboriginal students.

“It all has the same goal, giving people the opportunity to experience trades training to see what it most aligned with their interests and skills,” Sehn said.

“I’m most happy when I see someone in discovery skills move on to a foundation program. If I see them year after year, I know they are on their way. That’s what we want to see happen.”

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read