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April 18, 2017 3:18 PM

Minister Matthews announces provincial investment in pre-apprenticeship training

Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, was joined by Daiene Vernile, MPP for Kitchener Centre, and Kathryn McGarry, MPP for Cambridge, at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus on April 18 to announce a provincial investment of more than $14 million in pre-apprenticeship training. The funding will provide opportunities for people across the province to access free training in preparation for skilled trades careers.

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Minister Deb Matthews and MPP Daiene Vernile talk with James Graine, a graduate of the Pre-Apprenticeship Welder program, at the Waterloo campus on April 18. Minister Matthews was on campus to announce the province's $14 million investment in pre-apprenticeship training.

As part of the funding, Conestoga will receive $266,546 for the Pre-Apprenticeship Welder and Metal Fabricator program to begin May 1 at the Waterloo campus. This is in addition to the $250,416 received for the pre-apprenticeship Heavy Duty Equipment/Truck and Coach program that started March 27 at the Guelph campus.

“When we reach potential tradespeople early with introductory training, they stand a better chance of completing apprenticeship training and enjoying rewarding, well-paid careers in the trades,” said Matthews. “By investing in pre-apprenticeship programs we’re ensuring that people in Ontario get the skills and training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The provincial funding will support more than 1,200 pre-apprentices in 67 training programs this year to help them gain job skills and experience, and prepare them for successful careers in the skilled trades. The funding will provide free training, while also covering costs for textbooks, safety equipment and tools.

Conestoga President John Tibbits thanked Minister Matthews and the Government of Ontario for supporting the initiative and said it will help address the need for skilled workers in the region.

“We’re very pleased to work with the Government of Ontario to help more people acquire the skills and knowledge they need to launch successful careers,” said Tibbits. “Providing opportunities for everyone to achieve their potential transforms lives, creates prosperous communities, and builds a stronger Ontario.”

James Graine, a 2014 graduate of Conestoga’s Pre-Apprenticeship Welder program, turned to the college for retraining after his 12-year career in sales ended. He extended thanks to Minister Matthews for the provincial funding that will help others like him explore a career in the skilled trades.

“In hindsight it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Graine. “Conestoga provided the experience I needed for getting job ready … I have been working at my current position for two years and was hired on the spot.”

Conestoga is a provincial leader in trades and apprenticeship training, delivering a comprehensive array of programs in the construction, motive power, industrial and service sectors.

For more information, visit the School of Trades and Apprenticeship

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