Sheridan will launch a free 14-week program this fall that makes pre-apprenticeship training more accessible for racialized and marginalized groups who historically have not been represented in the skilled trades.
The new initiative, titled Accelerate Your Future: Introduction to the Manufacturing Trades, provides more than 200 hours of introductory hands-on training across six different skilled trades disciplines — electrical, plumbing, welding, precision machining, industrial mechanic millwrighting and construction — while also teaching fundamental mathematical concepts and communication/safety theory. Each participant is also eligible to receive up to $1,000 worth of equipment and food.
A mechanical technician student sprays a toolmaking machine to clean it.There are no admission requirements to enter the program, which will run from Oct. 24, 2022 to Feb. 4, 2023 and is capped at 15 students. Classes will be taught part-time on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Mondays at Sheridan’s Davis Campus (Brampton) in the Magna Skilled Trades Centre, a three-storey, 130,000-square-foot facility that will welcome competitors from across the world next month when it hosts the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition’s Industrial Mechanics event.
“This exciting new program furthers Sheridan’s ongoing commitment to ensure equitable opportunities for everyone to reach their full potential,” says Lindsay Engel, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science and Technology. “Accelerate Your Future: Introduction to the Manufacturing Trades responds to the needs of our community by removing barriers to entry and creating inclusive spaces for equity-deserving groups to learn and explore the trades.”
“Access to and experiences in education are not the same for everyone,” says MaryKate Grey, Community Outreach Manager and Professor, Magna School of Skilled Trades. “In addition to providing introductory training for people who may not have had the opportunity to be exposed to the trades, we are meeting people where they’re at by providing a space in which they are comfortable and can gain the confidence to further their learning and development.”
A student feeds electrical wire through a framed wall in Sheridan’s electrical labFunding for Accelerate Your Future: Introduction to the Manufacturing Trades is provided by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) as part of its Inclusive Pre-Apprenticeship Pathways (IPAP) project, a four-year initiative offered in partnership with the Canadian Apprenticeship Fund (CAF) and funded through the Skilled Trades and Readiness (STAR) Program by Employment and Social Development Canada. IPAP is designed to help Canadians and newcomers to Canada — particularly those facing barriers to education — access pre-apprenticeship training designed to support their success while helping address skill gaps persisting in the trades and supporting a labour market that been shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sheridan is one of five postsecondary institutions in Canada selected by CICan to participate in IPAP, and the lone urban postsecondary institution in the province. Criteria to participate in IPAP included experience delivering pre-apprenticeship programs; existing partnerships with Indigenous communities and/or organizations who offer programs, services and support to people from equity-deserving groups; and experience and capacity to offer tailored wrap-around services to support participants from equity-deserving groups.
Other Sheridan outreach initiatives that promote the trades include Women in Trades, a club that provides a like-minded community and networking opportunities for women who work in or are about to venture into the skilled trades; Try The Trades Thursday, a free six-week after-school program that allows local students in Grades 7-8 to explore trades such as welding, electrical techniques, precision machining and construction; and Skills Ontario Summer Camps, a week-long series of interactive and fun activities that build skills and teach youth about opportunities in the skilled trades and technologies. Sheridan also offers free Industrial Mechanic Millwright and General Machinist pre-apprenticeship programs that feature 23 weeks of in-class training and eight weeks of paid work placement in an industrial setting.