Although I can sympathize with the owners of D&S Electric and many others in their effort to get trades schooling close to home, the reality is it won’t happen.
Colleges or other facilities must break even or where possible make a little profit.
They won’t run a class for four or five students.
At the very least they require 12 students for trades training or schooling in Williams Lake and it will not be happening any time soon for your major trades categories.
The real problem is the dismantling of the Industrial Training Authority (ITA) that’s happened over the years with no oversight, no tracking of hours that really fit the criteria and no co-ordination between ITA or schooling facilities.
A college may offer the schooling but for the apprentice he/she may have to register a half a dozen times to try to secure a spot.
When it opens and closes to their community they jump on it.
The result is small colleges cancelled their schooling for lack of enrolment.
Having to travel away from home for your schooling is not new and efforts have been made to address this cost with both federal and provincial grants.
It’s not easy for the new apprentice, however, with a little financial support from the employer apprenticing an employee can reap some loyalty, as well.
Trades are in demand and that’s only going to increase but to make the best out of this situation the government must change ITA to more than a website referral agent.
They must get on the ground and engaged with the needs and the reality we are facing and the difficulty experienced by small employers and their apprentices.
The current ITA is a shameful joke at best when you consider the role this agency should be reasonable for and what their mandate was in the past.