CLAC and SOY Align to Streamline Apprenticeship Learning
New partnership in Ontario will help increase apprenticeship completion rates
Cambridge, ON—CLAC and Support Ontario Youth (SOY) are working together to help streamline the apprenticeship pathway in Ontario.
Canada is facing a looming skills shortage due to the retirement of baby boomers. There aren’t enough new journeypersons and apprentices to fill the gap, and only half of apprentices in Ontario complete their apprenticeships.
Confusion within the apprenticeship system was identified as a significant barrier to enrolment and completion during the province’s consultations with the construction industry in 2016. The government is taking steps to remedy this, but it is a complex problem with a multi-faceted solution.
“At any given time, hundreds of apprentices are registering, progressing through, and completing their apprenticeship programs within CLAC,” says Colin deRaaf, CLAC Training director in Ontario. “We want to ensure that they are able to complete their apprenticeships and enjoy rewarding careers in the skilled trades, which is why we’ve partnered with SOY.”
CLAC employers, apprentices, and the CLAC Jobs team can now engage with SOY’s apprenticeship sponsor group services, which includes recruitment, registration, administration, and on-going support to employers and apprentices.
This means CLAC can provide continuing support to their apprentices when they are seeking employment via the CLAC Jobs service. These apprentices can now stay registered as apprentices without having to be sponsored directly by an employer. They do not lose their spot in line for the in-class portion of their apprenticeship, their OCOT membership stays in good standing, and they can still qualify for grants and bursaries.
“An apprentice’s ability to continue learning should not be handcuffed by the employer’s ability to keep them employed,” says Stephen Sell, SOY’s executive director. “These apprentices can now continue learning and preparing for their chosen career versus dropping out because they are between jobs. By sharing resources and aligning our services with like-minded organizations, such as CLAC, we take leaps in helping streamline the apprenticeship pathway in Ontario.”
“SOY and CLAC will collaborate with the individual apprentices to ensure they have full access to resources and mentorship while they prepare for the in-class portion of their apprenticeship and the certificate of qualification certificate exam,” says Glenda Rahn, SOY’s program manager.
SOY proactively manages the apprentice’s progress to ensure trade skills are being learned and hours are being captured. SOY also engages the ministry, government oversight agencies, Ontario colleges, industry supporters and stakeholders, and employment agencies.
“By inserting ourselves into the process, we are able to help address barriers to completion, and hurdles that employers and apprentices face when working through the apprenticeship pathway,” says Huong Nguyen, SOY’s operations manager. “These experiences allow us to provide feedback to the ministry and key stakeholders responsible for apprenticeship learning. With this collaboration of resources, we’re able to stay on top of employer’s wants and apprentice needs with an active, open line of communication.”
“With this agreement, we can provide a collective voice surrounding the promotion of skilled trades and the modernization of apprenticeships in Ontario,” says deRaaf. “By streamlining and modernizing the apprenticeship pathway, we can help ensure Ontario has enough skilled tradespeople to continue moving forward, and we can ensure young Ontarians have access to rewarding careers.”
About Support Ontario Youth (SOY)
Support Ontario Youth (SOY) is a ministry-approved apprenticeship sponsor group for electricians (309A) and plumbers (306A). SOY works with current and future apprentices, employers, and industry stakeholders to provide support in streamlining the apprenticeship pathway in Ontario. SOY’s mandate is to advocate for the apprentice and help support them in their career in the skilled trades. Support Ontario Youth is a registered charity established in 2016.