The Current Landscape
There is an urgent need for skilled trades professionals. The trades landscape has changed, with baby boomers reaching retirement age and new energies and technologies that require new skills. In addition, the high school graduation rate in Alberta remains at the bottom end of the national scale.
- There were a better way to encourage high school students to pursue options in their schooling that would help them decide at an earlier age whether a career in the skilled trades is for them?
- They had the chance to take courses designed to educate them in skilled trades areas in demand?
- Students could learn from a real-life journeyman at a world-class training facility?
- Students could get training in what the real world is looking for, without the pressure of finding an employer?
- Employers could hire students with a strong foundation in their chosen trade, reducing risk and improving safety performance?
In response to this need, TEPF, with support from Building Trades of Alberta and Alberta Education, has created the new Trades and Climate Change Education Program.
What is the Trades and Climate Change Education Program?
The Trades and Climate Change Education Program provides hands-on learning at an off-campus location in first-class facilities taught by red seal journeymen instructors in the construction trades. These single semester, 125-hour programs work uniquely for each school district and training facility, with the option to be tailored to a half-day or full day course. The training is offered at fully equipped local Building Trades of Alberta union training facilities with a maximum of 12 students per semester.
A pilot project was launched with the Calgary Board of Education in 2013 in partnership with The Plumbers & Pipefitters Union, Local 496, and expanded to Ironworkers Local 725 in Calgary in 2014. In spring of 2017 a dedicated Wind Turbine course was put on by Local 725 in Lethbridge. The pilot projects have been extremely successful in job placements, resulting in nearly 75% of students enrolled now working as apprentices in their chosen trades.
In 2018, TEPF will be expanding this program to other communities and it will be offered to high schools in designated locations across the province. In addition, TEPF will expand the trade options to include a wider range of trades careers.