Pre-Apprenticeship Programs Expanding

Apprentice Rebecca Turner speaks about St. Clair College's pre-apprenticeship program at a news conference at Centerline in Windsor, March 31, 2016. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

St. Clair College has received funding to double the intake into its pre-apprenticeship program to help address the skills shortage in the region.

The precision metal cutting program offers an in-school curriculum as well as hands-on training and a 12 week industry placement.

Robert Chittim with the School of Skilled Trades says students coming out of this program are in high demand.

“The first 25 students that are coming in already have jobs. So people are seeking these people out. The word on the street that these are very good candidates to get so people are starting to recruit them as soon as they can,” says Chittim.

Rebecca Turner, 28, started with the pre-apprenticeship program because it gave her the opportunity to learn the trade while supporting her young family. Through the program participants earn a wage while in their work placement.

“I think the best part is when I started at St. Clair I had zero experience and I started working, feeling confident and well equipped in just a couple of months,” says Turner.

Since the pre-apprenticeship program Turner has been hired full-time at Centerline in Windsor and will complete her three year apprenticeship on the job.

VP of Operations at Centerline Steve Renaud says these kinds of programs are needed because there are not enough skilled workers to fill the open positions in their company.

“It’s been a challenge to attract all the young minds, young students to the industry and it’s another key program to introduce students to the opportunity and to get them into the trade,” says Renaud.

The college is currently recruiting to fill 25 positions in the pre-apprenticeship program that will start in August of 2016. The deadline to apply is April 29. The college is holding an open house and information session on Saturday, April 2 at its main campus for students interested in the program.