Conestoga news

February 20, 2009 4:32 PM

$3.6 Million in Apprenticeship Funding for Conestoga


Conestoga is one of Ontario's largest providers of apprenticeship education and has a reputation for quality in developing apprenticeship curriculum.

On February 13, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Milloy visited the Waterloo campus of Conestoga and before an audience of apprenticeship students and faculty, College officials, and local community and industry leaders, announced funding for three initiatives to advance apprenticeship learning at Conestoga and benefit the regional economy.

The initiatives total more than $3.6 million.

These include: $2.1 million to modernize facilities and equipment, $1.1 million for a co-op/apprenticeship/diploma technician program in cook-culinary management and $470,000 to help 48 youth looking for work prepare for apprenticeships in two areas – brick and stone mason, and truck trailer service technician.

The funds will be used, depending on the specific trade, at Conestoga campuses in Waterloo, Kitchener (Doon) and Guelph.

"We're pleased to invest in a wide range of skills training at Conestoga College. Training and equipment must stay current to build the skilled workforce we need to strengthen Ontario's economy," Minister Milloy said.

Leeanna Pendergast, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, added, "This is wonderful news for Conestoga College and the local industries that need more skilled workers. Expanding apprenticeships will help more people train for tomorrow's high-skilled jobs."

Through the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund (AEF), Conestoga will improve apprenticeship training facilities and purchase state-of-the-art equipment to train more apprentices in the industrial, construction and motive power trades. AEF funds go towards: renovation of existing facilities, including mobile apprenticeship training units; replacement of existing equipment to meet industry standards and support greater enrolment; the purchase of new equipment; and improvement of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Ontario is also helping provide greater access to skills training and job opportunities for 40 students to study cook-culinary management at the Waterloo campus through the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program. This initiative lets participants complete a college program and begin training as an apprentice at the same time. In addition, the government is helping 48 unemployed youth strengthen their trade-related skills to prepare them for successful apprenticeships in the truck-trailer (Guelph campus) and brick and stone mason (Waterloo campus) trades. Pre-apprenticeship training helps prospective apprentices develop trade-specific knowledge, job readiness skills and employment experience.

In acknowledging the funding announcement, Conestoga President John Tibbits commented, "Conestoga is one of Ontario's largest, most dynamic centres for apprenticeship education. The funding being provided under the apprenticeship enhancement program raises the training quality standards for students and their employers, and provides further proof that apprenticeship is an indispensable third pillar of higher education in the province."

The funding announced on February 13 is part of the $2-billion Skills to Jobs Action Plan that gives Ontarians a competitive edge by training for tomorrow's high-skilled jobs.

Conestoga College is training over 4,700 apprentices in 21 trades this year.

Contact: Andre Beaudry, 519-748-5220, ext. 2235