Province invests $1.3 million in Fanshawe College’s Corporate Training Solutions

A photo of staff and students working in an on-campus training lab. CREDIT: MAURICIO PRADO
A $1.3 million investment from the province will go towards building a 18-week hands-on training program including a work placement.

The Ontario government is investing $1.3 million in Fanshawe College’s Corporate Training Solutions (CTS) to support free pre-apprenticeship programs in carpentry, welding, and automotive service technicians. According to Statistics Canada, 14,000 jobs are currently unfilled in London, which allows this investment to ease and fill some of those vacancies in the industry.

Heather Carey, manager of CTS, said that these are significant initiatives that can assist companies in enhancing their trades teams with talented new hires eager to put their skills, expertise, and passion to use in a fulfilling career in the trades.

“Pre-apprenticeship is the level one of the Skill Trades Apprenticeship program, so when people complete that, they will be officially on the apprenticeship journey that is highly in-demand and can offer the potential to earn six-figure salaries with pensions and benefits,” Carey said.

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Carey said that apprenticeships and funding from the Ministry of Labour provide extra wraparound support, which helps with academic upgrading, employment counselling, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

“This investment will help us to guide people on how to build their resumes, improve their interview skills and other things to support those who did not or have not finished high school,” Carey said. “We would be able to provide an academic upgrading package to support those who did not finish high school.”

Carey said that to be an apprentice in Ontario, people need to complete high school. She added that this investment is good because it will provide fulfilling, well-paying occupations that allow people to purchase a home and raise a family.

“The pre-apprenticeship programs, supported by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, would be 18 weeks long and provide intensive hands-on instruction in the practical theory and skill development needed to become a level one certified apprentice,” Carey said.

She said the programs consist of a 12-week robust, hands-on training covering practical theory and skills development, and then they go to a work placement for the remaining six weeks.

Carey said there is a wage stipend of $2,000 that they can pay the employer for a 12-week placement, which is about half of the level one apprentice’s payroll. She added that that represents a financial benefit to the employers.

“This also means that people can get early in their career and help train and mentor into the trades. They would also come with extra skills not usually asked at the beginning of their jobs,” Carey said.

Carey stated that this program also aims to increase workforce equity and bring more underrepresented and vulnerable groups into the workforce. She said that students and employers are eager about his initiative and that she has received good comments about it. Carey added that in-person classes and lab training would occur at Fanshawe’s London Campus, supplemented by various online activities and artificial intelligence (AI) focused on enhancing employability skills.

“It would require a lot of time and effort from the people because it would be like studying and working simultaneously, but the outcome would help to fight the province’s historic labour shortage,” Carey said.