Free Pre-Apprenticeship Program Starts At Georgian’s Muskoka Campus On June 26

Georgian College Muskoka Campus Pre-Apprenticeship
Photo courtesy of Georgian College

Another round of Georgian College’s pre-apprenticeship program is launching at their Muskoka campus this month, offering 18 students a provincially funded opportunity to explore careers in the trades.

The pre-apprenticeship program is free to participants and gives students the chance to learn on the job while also receiving relevant training like first aid and working at heights. It includes two weeks of in-school training followed by an eight-week paid work placement with local employers. This round of the program, which covers carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and heating, refrigeration and air conditioning (HRAC), starts on June 26 with applications due by June 9. Applicants need to be at least 16, a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, and not already registered as an apprentice.

“One of the best-kept secrets in Ontario is the fact when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government is proud to support Georgian College’s pre-apprenticeship program, which is helping more young people get the training they need to earn bigger paycheques for themselves and their families.”

“This program is really meant to help someone enter the construction trades that just doesn’t know where to start,” said Michelle Kennedy, Academic Support Officer at Georgian’s Muskoka campus.

The first week of the program includes intensive instruction primarily focused on carpentry training while the second week is focused on safety certifications. After the initial two-week training, students are on the job with local employers from Tuesday to Friday. 

Photo courtesy of Georgian College

Each Monday they do additional training at the college, including more advanced topics like access structures, roof framing, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning (HRAC), and blueprint reading. The program gives students exposure to working in the field while also having access to experienced faculty that can help them navigate their career options.

“Gaining some of that first-hand knowledge from experienced people in the trades, both at the college and on the job site, that’s a huge piece,” Kennedy said. “Apprenticeships allow students to connect with employers, and that’s a role we play in a program like this; helping guide them through the whole process”

Pre-apprenticeship is a true pathway into a career, she said. Beyond the original placement, the program also provides industry contacts to help participants find success in other potential apprenticeships and jobs if the fit isn’t quite right.

“We can see a student come in who has zero experience and minimal confidence, and throughout their time here as well as on work placement, we see huge growth,” she said. “That’s huge for us, and that’s why we do it.”

In addition to vetting participants through the application process, Kennedy said they also vet the employers for participants to ensure the best experience possible. The college has built up relationships with local employers to make sure students receive consistently valuable training and experience.

“The work placements are paid, and at the end of that work placement, the intent is that each placement leads to an offer of apprenticeship and full-time employment,” said
James Fielding, Campus Manager at Georgian College’s Muskoka Campus.

Fielding said some of their best success stories have come out of the pre-apprenticeship program. Many students have found careers through their placements, including some who have started on a path toward opening their own businesses.

Pre-apprenticeship is an Employment Ontario program funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. In addition to the necessary training and certifications, funding for the program also covers the cost of toolkits as well as personal protective equipment like safety glasses and work boots.

Photo courtesy of Georgian College

Trades and transport make up about 25 per cent of the workforce in Muskoka, according to the 2021 census conducted by Statistics Canada, making it an essential and in-demand career, Fielding said. The 10-week session gives local youth and job seekers the ability to jumpstart a career in the skilled trades while also assisting employers during the busy summer construction season in Muskoka.

“It’s a huge piece of the job market in Muskoka,” he said. “There’s also an incredible amount of demand right now across the country for skilled trades workers, particularly in the construction industry.”

The program changes the lives and career paths of its participants, he said, so there are a lot of feel-good stories that emerge. Alisha Cattelan, who was a pre-apprenticeship student in 2021, said the program at Georgian College in Muskoka was an amazing way to test out the trades and help her make an informed career decision.

The program gave me the confidence to tackle a new skill set and pursue a new career path,” Cattelan said. “The instructors in the program made me feel as though the skilled trades were accessible to me. The knowledge, expertise and patience that they demonstrated really set the students up for success.”

This free program fills up quickly. Visit Muskoka Campus – Georgian College for the application form.

This post is sponsored by the Georgian College Muskoka Campus.

Georgian College Muskoka Campus Pre-Apprenticeship June 2023


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