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Media Release - May 26, 2005

Skilled Trades: The Right Tools for the Job

HAMILTON, ON-May 26, 2005: In response to the skill shortages prevalent throughout Ontario’s industrialized workforce, the faculty of Engineering Technology at Mohawk College has restructured and expanded its apprenticeship programs. A well-known leader in co-operative education, Mohawk’s skilled trade apprenticeships address employer demands for competent, skilled workers able to operate the sophisticated equipment required in automated manufacturing.

“Mohawk is a well known and well respected school,” comments David Ferencich, a pre-apprenticeship student in the new Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Techniques certificate program being offered at the Stoney Creek Campus. “I am very confident that my experiences here will allow me to find myself a part of a team and give me a career, as opposed to just a job.”

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Techniques program is a one year certificate program, which allows graduates to earn their entry level certification, Gas Technician III according to the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA), and Basic Level for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning according to Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities guidelines. Developed in conjunction with over 100 employers, the new certificate program begins this September and is currently oversubscribed, with 120 applicants vying for the 40 placements.

Mohawk College is also introducing a two year Motive Power Technician diploma program this fall. A natural extension of existing apprenticeship and certificate programs, the diploma curriculum is designed to challenge both basic and intermediate ministry exemption tests. Without this course, an average automotive mechanics apprenticeship takes approximately five years to complete, based on hours and competency testing. Based on extensive research and feedback from employers, the program provides a broad based education with instruction in customer service, operations management and appraisals, as well as hands-on experience in the college’s completely outfitted shops. Students graduate with both a diploma and advance standing in an apprenticeship, and greater potential for career advancement.

Adam Demelo is currently finishing the one year certificate program and will enter the second year of the diploma program in September. He attributes the students’ satisfaction with the program, the highest of all the college’s programs, to the dedication of the instructors and the top notch technology. “The professors put students first,” explains Adam. “They stay current with the latest software applications and the needs of employers and help us (students) get through the rather complicated apprenticeship process.”

Employment demographics predict that by 2011 retirements from the workforce will exceed new entrants. In the next two decades, 40 per cent of new jobs will be in skilled trades and technology. In 1998, that number was less than 20 per cent.

“We need to encourage more young people to discover skilled trades and apprenticeships,” said Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes. “They graduate with excellent, good paying employment opportunities that are worthy of consideration when high school students contemplate their post-secondary future. After all, even the BMW driver needs a mechanic.”