Andrew Pariser and Amina Dibe / RESCON
RESCON recently had the pleasure of speaking at the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) seminar hosted by LiUNA 183 Training Centre.
The event brought together guidance counsellors, teachers and OYAP coordinators from elementary and secondary schools from various GTA schoolboards. The goal was simple: inform the educators about what a career in residential construction entails and ensure they understand the opportunities our sector can offer. With a better knowledge of residential construction, teachers and guidance counsellors can advise the future workforce about the different paths into construction and into the skilled trades.
Opportunities are expanding, and some pathways are open to students even before graduating high school. One example is OYAP, which offers cooperative education credits (secondary school credits) through a work placement in an apprenticeable trade, while also creating a pathway (school-to-work) into an apprenticeship program following graduation. OYAP sets up students to become registered apprentices, and work towards becoming journeypersons all the while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).
RESCON vice-president Andrew Pariser speaks at the LiUNA Local 183 Training Centre.
The OYAP program is open to students at least 16 years old, in Grade 11 and Grade 12. There are three types of OYAP programs: regular, specialized and accelerated.
- Regular: Students must be at least 16 years old, have obtained at least 16 credits and be in school full time working towards their OSSD.
- Specialized: Open to Grade 12 students. This program is one year in length, and combines a bundle of technological studies classes and a co-op placement in the industry. Students should be within eight credits of the OSSD, with no more than one compulsory credit to be completed.
- Accelerated: Suited for Grade 12 students who will be eligible to graduate at the end of the school year. This runs during the second semester and combines free apprenticeship training at a college, trade school or other approved training delivery agents (TDA) with a co-op placement. This allows students to complete part or all their Level 1 apprenticeship training.
For all of the above streams of OYAP, students must apply and be accepted into a co-op program to participate. The hours and skills that students accrue while in OYAP to go towards a Certificate of Apprenticeship; students must be entered into a Registered Training Agreement.
The LiUNA Local 183 Training Centre has had a long relationship with OYAP, providing training and connecting students with on-site opportunities through builders and contractors in all trades. Sandro Pinto, executive director of the LiUNA Local 183 Training Centre, describes the partnership as “a win-win for both educators and the construction industry.”
There is also the Specialist High Skilled Majors (SHSM) program which lets students to take career-focused courses while also participating in a co-op work placement, allowing students to match their interest and skills with practical learning. There are 19 streams students can choose from, construction being one of them. The program is geared toward Grade 11 and 12 students.
Sandro Pinto, executive director of the LiUNA Local 183 Training Centre.
Elvy Moro, program head of the Construction Trades Exploration Program (CTEP) and a RESCON educational partner, thought the seminar was “a good start to an important conversation. We need more seminars like this one to ensure that students have the resources and support to pursue careers in construction.”
For background, the RESCON presentation introduced the various trades found in residential construction and outlined the complex process of building houses, condos and other residential buildings. We highlighted the need for smart, skilled and motivated individuals who have a good attitude. In short, construction is the best performing sector in Ontario’s economy and we need to draw top talent to be successful today and in the future.
Overall, the interactive seminar was a successful start. It cleared up many misconceptions educators have about working in the construction trades, and drew attention to the fact that careers in the construction industry are often high paying, stable and rewarding. It also provided a gateway for members of the construction industry to better understand how OYAP and the broader education system view our sector and advise students. Change comes through understanding and this is a first step in that process.
RESCON is involved in and expanding our many training and education initiatives aimed at addressing the supply of labour and promoting youth pathways into the construction trades. In addition to hiring Amina Dibe – program and policy analyst -- RESCON is involved in the Post-Graduate Residential Construction Management program at George Brown College, Elvy Moro’s CTEP program at Northview Heights Secondary School in Toronto, and the Women in Skilled Trades Program (WIST) at the Centre for Skills Development and Training. Other educational partners include Humber College and the University of Toronto.
Keep reading this blog for more updates on RESCON’s training and education efforts. Thank you!
Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON and chair of the RESCON training and education committee. Members interested in joining the committee can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Amina Dibe is a Program and Policy Analyst for RESCON with a focus training and education, government relations and expanding opportunities for women in the trades. Email her at email@example.com.