Conestoga news

September 13, 2004 3:02 PM

Unique New Program Combines Diploma, Apprenticeship

KITCHENER, September 13 - Today, Conestoga College officially launched a unique program called Mechanical Technician Diploma/Apprenticeship Co-op at the Doon campus in Kitchener.

Successful completion of the program results in the granting of a Conestoga Diploma plus a College Certificate of Apprenticeship in one of three specializations: Tool and Die Maker/Toolmaker, Machine Tool Builder and Integrator or General Machinist. Graduates will be eligible to write an exam to earn a Certificate of Qualification in the appropriate trade when they have completed the necessary on-the-job training requirements subsequent to their Conestoga experience.

Forty-five students are beginning the program, which is the only pilot program sponsored by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities in the advanced mechanical/metalworking area now operating in Ontario.

The program has three main sections. The first is three 15-week semesters of study at Conestoga. The second is a 56-week period for completion of a paid co-op apprenticeship on the job in industry. The third is a 20-week semester at Conestoga.

The expectation is that students will complete the entire program in two and one-half years, although there will be supplemental instructional requirements in the Machine Tool Builder and Integrator trade.

Application for admission was made to Conestoga, but the selection of successful candidates was done by a consortium composed of representatives from industry and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and facilitated by Conestoga. This group, known as DATCON (the Diploma/Apprenticeship Training Consortium) will also arrange for the 56-week co-op training component placements. (See the DATCON membership list below.)

Students in this program have been registered as apprentices to the consortium as of their very first day of participation.

The program is a unique opportunity for participants to gain dual credentials, in-depth technical knowledge, valuable on-the-job experience and excellent employment immediately upon graduation in well-paid positions. Also, the program eliminates the need for prospective apprentices to locate a sponsoring employer in advance of beginning studies.

Many major local employers have endorsed this program, including Linamar Corporation, ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc., Babcock & Wilcox Canada and BES Tool & Die Ltd.

The Diploma/Apprenticeship Training Consortium (DATCON)

Greg Polan (Chair), Director of Human Resources, Linamar Chassis Group, Guelph
Thom Pett (Vice-Chair), Operations Manager, BES Tool and Die Ltd., Cambridge

Jay Church, Precision Resource, Cambridge
Alan Jones, Globe Stamping Co. Ltd., Kitchener
George Nechanicky, Systematix Automation Solutions, Waterloo
Lorne Seip, CompX Waterloo Furniture Components Ltd., Kitchener
Edward Weidinger, Preston Rebuilt Machinery Industries Ltd., Cambridge
Scott Zinger, Trillium Metal Stampings, Kitchener

Laura Thomas, Training Consultant, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Waterloo

Greg White, Precision Machining Program Coordinator, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Kitchener
Hans Zawada, Dean, School of Trades and Apprenticeship, Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Guelph

CONTACT: Greg White, 748-5220, ext. 3831,;
                     Hans Zawada, 519-824-9390, ext. 151,