Conestoga news

July 19, 2013 3:21 PM

Industry partnerships make trades and apprenticeships possible

Could you imagine learning a trade but having no equipment to learn on or materials to use?  Conestoga's trades and apprenticeship programs are all about hands-on learning but most require a substantial amount of material or large, expensive machinery to run the programs and train students.  Many could not exist without gift-in-kind donations from local businesses.

Some of these partnerships are a result of a direct need in industry.  Several years ago, the Ontario Masonry Contractors Association realized many contractors were avoiding using masonry materials as there were too few bricklayers and stonemasons so installation was a problem. The Masonry Training Centre was built and in four years, the number of masonry tradespeople in Ontario has doubled.  Manufacturers continue to support the program through donations of brick, block and manufactured stone, even covering the cost of shipping.  Members of the Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association donate, including Boehmers Block, Permacon, Shouldice Designer Stone, Spec Mix, and from the brick industry, Hanson Brick and Brampton Brick.

The Heating/Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (HRAC) Centre is filled with donated machinery, making the programs possible to run with up-to-date technology.  In the HRAC space, 80% of equipment -- including furnaces, condensers, geothermal systems and more -- is donated by companies like IPEX Inc.  Similarly, for powerline technician training, industry stepped in to donate pole hardware and even trucks for use. Waterloo North Hydro is one of the many strong supporters of this program.

The motive program in Guelph has also found tremendous support from industry partners.  Navistar/International Trucks has donated over several years, including large diesel engines, which are valued at over $75,000 and offer significant opportunities for students to train.  Hino Motors Canada donated a medium duty $50,000 truck to the truck program, featuring the latest technology and most current emission controls, making it an exceptional tool for students to learn on. Steed & Evans also donated several pieces of heavy equipment for the heavy equipment technician and operator programs.  Caterpillar/Toromont provide funds through their Dealer Excellence Fund and from both arms of the company to support student scholarships and awards in the heavy equipment and tooling program. 

"Conestoga College enjoys partnerships with literally hundreds of industrial partners and organizations," notes Greg White, Chair, Trades & Apprenticeships.  "It is said that 'many hands lighten the load' and this is so true when we receive donations of material both large and small, equipment donations, sponsorship in our awards and bursaries to students and monetary donations to support our students. From multi-national organizations to small one and two person operations, donations ensure that our students and apprentices have the materials and equipment to become world class tradesmen and tradeswomen."