IBEW’s Local Union 804 in the Breslau region has received approximately $5.5 million in federal funding over 5 years to implement a new, more continuous training program for new prospective members: The Pre-Apprentice Training and Retention Innovative Learning Program.
This funding, which comes from the $25-million Union Training and Innovation Program, enables Local 804 to have 2 full-time instructors and a training coordinator to run the program, which includes 10 weeks of classroom time and 16 weeks of on-site training with an electrical contractor.
IBEW Local Union 804
Providing a Safe Learning Environment for New Workers
This has been in the works for a long time – according to Mark Watson, business manager of IBEW 804, they put in an application for this funding in 2016.
“We were cautiously optimistic for a few years, but when we heard the news – pure excitement. We could move forward with our plans,” Watson says.
It is Watson’s estimate that in the 5-year period they will train approximately 240 electrical apprentices free of charge. He’s excited about being able to provide full safety training without the pressure of learning on the job.
“We see incidents where someone is grievously injured or even passes away on job sites, and it’s tragic. We know from stats gathered on the subject that new workers are the most at risk for injuries or fatalities,” Watson explains.
“As industry professionals, we’re able to provide a safe learning environment and give apprentices the education they need without the pressure of learning everything on a job site.”
IBEW Local 804’s training program already has a 95% completion rate, and Watson hopes to continue that with the new program. “We’re extremely proud of the success of our apprentices. We’ll continue to deliver our best training by staying at the forefront of electrical knowledge and new practices, giving them the most up-to-date information,” he says.
Mark Watson, Business Manager, IBEW Local 804, Announcing Federal Funding
Partnering with Desire2Learn
Part of this new program includes partnering with local Kitchener tech company Desire2Learn. They provide online training platforms, something Watson is eager to implement.
“This multifaceted online platform will go a long way in modernizing training practices and offering support to current members and new applicants,” Watson explains.
Local 804 Training Center
About the 804 Training Centre
The training centre at Local 804 is an impressive one, encompassing approximately 12,000 square feet of industrial workshop space and 3,000 square feet of modern classrooms.
“We moved to this training centre in 2015,” Watson says. “We wanted to have proper workshops and classrooms – the necessary facilities to elevate training.”
The process of creating this new centre was a long one. They started in 2011, and thanks to mon
etary commitments from members, were able to find land and build the centre they have today.
Now a new wave of electrical workers will have their start in this cutting-edge facility.
The Honourable Bardish Chagger Announcing Funding
More Opportunities for More People
The Pre-Apprentice Training and Retention Innovative Learning Program offers individuals with no previous electrical training the chance to learn. It also enables more opportunities for people from underrepresented groups. This includes women, new immigrants, and Indigenous peoples.
“This funding means we can offer this training at no cost to the applicants and gives us the ability to stabilize our training schedule. Now we offer year-round, full-time training for everyone who wants to pursue an opportunity in the electrical trade.”