Pilot project launches at National Apprenticeship Conference



Ottawa ON — Attracting delegates from across the country, the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum’s (CAF-FCA’s) Board of Directors is pleased to announce its national conference, is taking place virtually on February 22-23, 2021.

To bring members of the apprenticeship community together in these unprecedented times, CAF-FCA’s biennial event took place online and highlighted promising practices and innovative solutions in apprenticeship training.  More than 500 delegates from every province and territory in Canada registered to learn, share and collaborate on joint solutions. The program featured expert panels, breakout sessions delivered by apprenticeship and skilled trades community partners from across the country, networking activities and an interactive virtual exhibit hall.

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough kicked off the event in a live address to delegates.  Her remarks included the announcement of a new CAF-FCA project funded through the Government of Canada’s Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP).  In partnership with the International Union of Operating Engineers, Improving Pass Rates and Learning Outcomes for IUOE Apprentices, will pilot use of an online tool with 2,000 apprentices in the heavy equipment operator and mobile crane operator trades.

As part of the UTIP, the Government of Canada also announced an investment of $63.5 million, over five years, for 68 projects to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce and prepare them to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.

“As we continue to fight this virus, our support for workers remains strong. Skilled tradespeople across the country have been critical to essential sectors during this pandemic, and they will continue to be so as Canada moves toward economic recovery,” stated Qualtrough. “That is why the Government of Canada continues to invest in skilled trades and support organizations, such as the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, to help Canadians, including those from key groups facing barriers, get the training they need to launch exciting and well-paying careers in the trades.”

CAF-FCA knows that post-COVID-19 economic recovery will require that certified journeypersons are a core part of the skilled trades workforce.  However, some apprentices make it through their training programs but struggle to pass the multiple-choice examination.  This pilot project will help address barriers apprentices face around passing the final multiple-choice examination by providing access to an online tool.  Best practices for accommodating apprentices with disabilities will inform development of the resource and should serve to improve exam pass rates.  CAF-FCA will share lessons learned and areas for improvement based on pilot results.  By gathering and applying best practices, other unions and employers may be encouraged to adopt the tool and exam preparation approach.

Lionel Railton, Canadian Regional Director said of the partnership, “The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) has worked in collaboration with the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum for twenty years.”  He continues, “This practical project, working with IUOE training directors and their staff from multiple provinces and territories is an opportunity to help apprentices directly, an approach that our union has always been guided by.”




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