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Apprenticeship students get their “hands-on” $1.3 million

Diana Forbes | Interrobang | News | September 12th, 2005

Due to the success of a pilot culinary program launched at Fanshawe last year, the provincial government announced an Ontario-wide expansion and increased funding to the Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program.

Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced an investment of $13.6 million over the next four years to train skilled trade workers, which equates to 1,000 new student positions.

The declaration was made in Fanshawe's own truck repair lab, with approximately forty students on hand to teach Bentley the ropes of mechanics.

“All students have the opportunity to become as skilled as they want to be, and as we need them to be,” said Bentley.

Fanshawe alone will see an investment of $1.3 million dollars over the next four years, and 95 students will be enrolled to the Cook/ Culinary Management, Truck and Coach Technician/ Motive Power Technician and Automotive Service Technician/ Motive Power Technician courses.

Fanshawe is second, only to Sudbury's Cambrian College, in terms of investment. Cambrian was allotted $2.8 million, with the bulk of the funds going towards the Industrial Mechanic Millwright/Manufacturing Engineering Technician course.

The Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program allows students to learn a skilled trade, while gaining a college diploma. In addition to a co-op placement, students will also take classes in marketing and business management.

“You get a better background with a co-op,” said Rod Cameron, Dean of Apprenticeship Training and Motive Power Technology at Fanshawe.

The Cook/Culinary Management program received their portion of the investment last September, when Fanshawe was one of six Ontario colleges that piloted the joint diploma. This year eighteen different colleges throughout Ontario will play host to the new co-op program, which incorporates nine different skilled trades.

According to Cameron, enrollment for the three new co-op programs is almost at capacity for the 2005/06 school year.

By collaborating skilled trades with college diplomas, the McGuinty government aims to attract more of Ontario's youth towards the skilled trade industry.

Cameron said the amount of skilled trade workers is declining and the industry needs more young people to fill expanding demand. “People who started 30 years ago are now retiring,” he said.

The announcement was part of Premier McGuinty's Reaching Higher plan for post-secondary education in Ontario. The 2005 budget invested $6.2 billion dollars to advanced education over the next five years, the largest multi-year investment in four decades.

The plan aims to incorporate an additional $366 million into apprenticeship and training programs, which will produce 26,000 skilled trade workers by 2007/08.
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