Conestoga news

June 9, 2023 6:59 PM

Trades & Apprenticeship Awards celebrate student success

The Conestoga community gathered to celebrate the Trades & Apprenticeship Awards on June 7. Held at the college’s new skilled trades campus (Cambridge - Reuter Drive), the annual event recognized outstanding student achievement in the motive power, construction and industrial trades. 

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Art Janzen delivered the keynote address at the college’s annual Trades & Apprenticeship Awards on June 7.

This year, more than 170 awards valued at a combined $292,000 were presented. In opening remarks, Conestoga President John Tibbits thanked industry partners and donors for their support, which has resulted in more than $2.4 million in awards for skilled trades students since the event’s inception in 2010.  

Art Janzen, co-owner and operations manager of Menno S. Martin Contractor in Waterloo, delivered the keynote address. With more than 16 years of experience, Janzen is responsible for overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations, specializing in residential design and build, additions, and renovations. Janzen has also been a long-serving member and current chair of the college’s Construction and Renovation Program Advisory Committee, providing expertise and insights to help ensure the program is aligned with industry needs.

“It is a great pleasure to be here with you today, celebrating this exciting moment in your lives, embarking on a journey in the trades,” said Janzen. “I see a group of students here today poised to build incredible things with their hands and minds, which will leave a lasting impact. The demand for skilled trade workers is high and the industry is vast and full of opportunities. It is an incredibly exciting time to be a part of it.”

Ontario has an urgent need for more skilled trades professionals to support industry competitiveness and growth. According to industry estimates, the province will need more than 100,000 new skilled tradespeople within the next decade to replace a retiring workforce and support new developments in areas such as housing and transit to meet the demands of a growing population. 

To help address Ontario’s skilled labour shortage, Conestoga opened phase one of a comprehensive skilled trades training campus in Cambridge in fall 2022. When fully realized, the state-of-the-art facility will modernize apprenticeship and skilled trades training through consolidation and expansion of the full complement of trades programs at a single location. The campus will be instrumental in Conestoga’s efforts to attract broader and more diverse students to trades-based careers.

“As you know, a house must be built on a solid foundation if it is to last. The same principle applies to you as you leave here with a strong footing in your fields of study and training. Leave here knowing you will build, modify, enhance and improve on your foundation,” Janzen continued. “To all the students here today, I want to say a heartfelt congratulations. You have worked incredibly hard to get to his point and you should be proud of everything you have accomplished and the awards you are receiving. But this is only the beginning. As you leave this institution and step out into your respective occupations, take stock in your values and determine your own why, and this will become the foundation of everything you build from this point forward.”

Conestoga is a provincial leader in the delivery of trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and the growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.

For more information, visit the School of Trades & Apprenticeship.