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NETCO 2016 Training Conference lays out future with “Green Skills” talk


June 22, 2016
By Renée Francoeur
IBEW Local 105 (Hamilton, Ont.) training director Chris Swick (left) holding his Practical Assessment Evaluator Training course certificate with facilitator James Boyd, the Alliance assistant training director, at NETCO training conference. Photos courtesy NETCO.

June 22, 2016 – The National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO), also known as the “voice of Canada’s electrical industry on workforce development issues”, hosted a training conference in Vancouver on June 4, 2016, to consider the industry’s response to emerging technologies and related skills requirements.

NETCO is a joint national partnership of the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Canada. CECA says it represents the interests of over 8000 electrical contractors across Canada who directly employ 70,000 persons and generate over $5 billion in revenues. Meanwhile, IBEW Canada has over 70,000 members and represents electrical apprentices and journeypersons.

Things kicked off with an opening plenary session, “Green Skills Training and Certification,” on workforce requirements related to electrical vehicle infrastructure technology, photovoltaic solar energy technologies, and conserving lighting system controls. Mike Elwood, Sun Country Integrated president and COO, followed that with a keynote address on bringing sustainability to the market.

“The shift to new energy technologies is accelerating, and industry and governments need to prepare,” said Bill Daniels, president of NETCO and international vice-president of IBEW Canada. “Canada needs trained, certified people to properly install and maintain these new systems—not just for the sake of efficiency, but for the safety of consumers and electrical workers.”

A second plenary session featured a preview of the “Canadian Electrical Installation Standards”—a new series of national standards developed by CECA that will soon be released through Orderline. “Our goal is to provide electrical contractors with nationally adopted standards for electrical work to establish uniformity and best practices while ensuring all electrical requirements are met safely and code-compliant,” said David Mason, president of CECA and Treasurer of NETCO.

Senior representatives from the electrical training Alliance, NETCO’s American counterpart and what claims to be “the largest electrical skills training organization in the world”, also presented. They provided insights on the current status of blended learning, an approach to skills instruction that combines interactive digital instruction and testing with hands-on classroom instruction. They also touched on “Success in Apprenticeship.”

“Through events like our annual conference, NETCO supports the growth of industry-financed technical training centres across Canada,” said Carol MacLeod, NETCO executive director of NETCO.

Save the 2017 NETCO Training Conference date: August 19-20 in Montreal, Que.