Commercial truck and transport mechanic apprentices at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) will have more training under their belts when they first enter the workplace thanks to an innovative apprenticeship pilot, Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk announced today.
"Employers told us that trades training needs to be flexible and we need to reduce the time apprentices spend away from the worksite taking technical training," said Virk. "This apprenticeship pilot at TRU is a great example of how we are working with industry and public post-secondary institutions to make that happen."
The new front-end loaded apprenticeship pilot focuses the main block of classroom and co-op training in the first 61 weeks instead of the traditional block-release model where classroom work is spread over four years. The front-loaded approach helps apprentices move into their work-based training already equipped with skills their employer-sponsor needs, and allows the apprentice to stay in the workplace without interruptions to go back into the classroom.
This approach also addresses apprentices' concerns that they often have difficulty finding employers to sponsor their work experience due to the amount of time they are required to spend in the classroom during times when employers need them most on the work site.
Sixteen employer-sponsored apprentices from throughout the province started the pilot program at the beginning of August 2013. The apprentices will complete a total of 6,000 hours of direct work-based experience by the end of their training. Apprentices who successfully complete the program will receive their B.C. Certificate of Qualification with a Red Seal endorsement as a truck and transport mechanic from the Industry Training Authority (ITA) as well as a Diploma of Transportation and Motive Power from TRU.
"By focusing more classroom training at the beginning of apprenticeships, programs like this one will provide skilled workers that are more productive in the workplace earlier in their apprenticeship years," said Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Shirley Bond. "This approach is an example of government's commitment to ensure we have a workforce in B.C. that has the right skills, in the right place, at the right time."
"An innovative leader in trades training, TRU responds quickly to the needs of students and industry by working with partners such as the ITA and the Transportation Career Development Association," said Alan Shaver, TRU president and vice-chancellor. "The support of these agencies as well as the provincial government, Cullen Diesel Power, Peterbilt Pacific, Inland Kenworth and BC Transit will help ensure that TRU continues to address the ever-changing skill needs of the province."
"I'm really excited to be part of this great Commercial Transport Mechanic apprentice pilot program," said student Jamie Gainsforth. "Having the classroom work up front means that I'll be ready to go into the work place part of my apprenticeship with a lot of the skills my employer needs already in my toolbox."
ITA is providing $179,600 in funding to support four levels of classroom technical training for the program. Additionally, TransCDA, the Industry Training Organization for this trade, along with TRU and the four employer sponsors have made significant contributions to the program design, recruitment, assessment selection and employer specific training of the 16 students. The employers are BC Transit, Cullen Diesel Power Ltd., Inland Kenworth and Peterbilt Pacific Inc.
- The new model was developed by the Transportation Career Development Association (TransCDA) and the Industry Training Authority (ITA).
- According to the British Columbia Trade Occupations Outlook: 2010-2020, in the Cariboo 23 per cent of the regional trades labour demand between 2010 and 2020 will be for machinery and transportation equipment mechanics.
- To qualify for the program, candidates completed testing of workplace essential skills, submitted a resume and underwent an apprenticeship interview process.
- Commercial truck and transport mechanics at TRU are eligible for the BC Access Grant - Labour Market Priorities announced by the provincial government in February 2013. Students must first apply for student financial assistance through StudentAid BC; if the student still has an unmet need after a financial aid assessment, they will be eligible to receive up to $10,000 of the BC Access Grant over their two financial assistance applications.
For more information on B.C. Jobs Plan and Skills Training Plan: www.bcjobsplan.ca/skills/bc-skills-and-training-plan/
Industry Training Authority: www.itabc.ca
Transportation Career Development Association (TransCDA): http://www.tcda.ca/
TRU Transportation and Motive Power Diploma: www.tru.ca/trades/degrees/trans_motive_tech.html
Labour market Student Aid BC Grant: studentaidbc.ca/explore/grants-scholarships/bc-access-grant-labour-market-priorities
Ministry of Advanced Education
Media Relations & Communications Manager
Marketing & Communications
Thompson Rivers University