Skilled trades forum hailed as success

The skilled trades employers’ forum held at Confederation College here Tuesday was a well-attended and successful evening, campus manager Anne Renaud reported.
“We had more than 40 employers attend, as well as some people from different community agencies and presenters,” she noted.
The purpose of the free forum was to inform employers about various programs available to assist with apprenticeships, and the proper process required to sign up an apprentice.
A projected shortage of skilled labour in Northwestern Ontario within the next 10 years could create problems for the economy if it isn’t addressed now.
“It was an opportunity to encourage employers who haven’t taken apprentices in the past,” Renaud said.
“A lot of employers [who attended] already have apprentices or have had some apprentices in the past,” she added.
For them, it was an opportunity to ask questions, learn about new programs, and voice concerns about any problems they’ve had in the past.
This was the first time the college had held a skilled trades employers’ forum, and Renaud said she and the other organizers were pleased with the response.
“There were some very good questions,” she noted. “It shows employers in this area are interested in developing apprenticeships. They are aware there will be a shortage, or there is a shortage.”
Among the presenters were Renaud, Marnie Cumming for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), and representatives from NCDS Career Works and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.