Conestoga news

April 22, 2008 2:36 PM

College-Union Partnership Promotes Carpentry Education

Minister Milloy Visits Program, Meets Students, Praises Apprenticeship Training

Conestoga College and Local 785 of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners have joined forces to develop and conduct a unique program for pre-apprentice carpenters, providing opportunity for more than 20 young people to take the first steps towards a much-in-demand skills career.

The program is being funded by $265,000 from the provincial government, and to see the investment in action Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Milloy and Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Leeanna Pendergast visited the Local 785 union hall on Monday morning, April 21 to meet the 21 students, as well as union and College officials.

The program began in January and features sessions at Conestoga's Waterloo campus and at the union hall, plus a paid co-op employment term. The first term at Conestoga has been completed, and the pre-apprentices are in the midst of a seven-week block of training at the union facility. The entire program will be completed in October.

“It’s wonderful to see the local building trades so vibrant,” the Minister said. “Apprenticeship is a real cornerstone of our government, and this collaborative program is testimony to the importance of partnerships, between employer and apprentice, between trainer and student, and between colleges and unions.”

Conestoga President John Tibbits added that apprenticeship training is on the rise at Conestoga, growing by nearly 30 per cent in the last two years.

“Expanding educational pathways is important,” he said, “because it creates opportunities for individuals to pursue excellence at the highest level in their chosen fields, as well as ensuring prosperity and international economic competitiveness.”

The President of Local 785, Rocky Orton, spoke highly of the progressive nature of the partnership, indicating that it provides the opportunity to start delivering valuable hands-on experience to these students at the pre-apprenticeship stage, a significant head-start in their chosen field.

Following the completion of the seven-week block at the union hall, the students will return to Waterloo campus to acquire their safety certifications, plus complete the first level of regular college-based apprenticeship training in the carpentry trade. After that comes an eight-week, paid job experience placement.

CONTACT: Tanja Gancevich,