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May 24, 2019 4:04 PM

Conestoga to lead national pre-apprenticeship initiative

The Government of Canada will invest $6.9 million over the next three years to support a new Conestoga project that will result in the delivery of the college’s Welding Pre-Apprenticeship program at partner institutions across Canada as well as in the local community.

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Government representatives and members of the Conestoga community announced funding provided through the Skilled Trades Awareness Readiness program at the college’s Cambridge campus on May 24.

The announcement was made at Conestoga’s Engineering & Technology campus in Cambridge on Friday, May 24. Funding is being provided through the Skilled Trades Awareness Readiness program announced in the 2018 federal budget.

“By helping all Canadians succeed in the labour market, we are strengthening and growing the middle class,” said Marwan Tabbara, Member of Parliament for Kitchener South-Hespeler. “This investment is another example of what our government is doing to help workers and families in the middle class and those working hard to join it.”

The project, “Increasing Canada’s Prosperity through Skilled Trades,” involves the delivery of Conestoga’s 33-week Welding Pre-Apprenticeship program at 19 locations across Canada over the next three years. The program, which is tuition-free for recipients and includes a paid work placement, prepares students for in-demand careers and provides a head start for those wishing to achieve apprenticeship certification.

Particular emphasis will be placed on engaging key groups such as women, Indigenous peoples, newcomers, persons with disabilities and other under-represented populations.

“We look forward to working with our partners here in the local community and across Canada to provide opportunities for more students to gain the skills and knowledge to launch skilled trades careers,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits. “We appreciate the Government of Canada’s investment in this important initiative, which will help develop the skilled trades workforce required to support industry competitiveness and contribute to the prosperity of communities within our region and across the country.”

For more than 10 years, skilled trades positions have consistently ranked as the most difficult to fill as the result of a shortage of available workers. Skills Canada estimates that one million skilled trades workers will be needed across the country by 2020.

Conestoga’s Pre-Apprenticeship Welder program includes 25 weeks of in-school training followed by an eight-week job placement. Applications are now open for the first offering, which will be delivered at the college’s Guelph campus beginning in July 2019.

Interested candidates are required to attend an information session - sessions will be held in Guelph on May 28, June 4 and June 6.

For more information, contact Kristen Goetz at 519-748-5220 ext. 5484 or 519-824-9390 ext. 5484.

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