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Public dollars should go to union-employer training centres, insists OCS

May 9, 2013 | By Anthony Capkun

May 9, 2013 – Skilled worker training centres that are a partnership of labour and management are found to be more successful in helping apprentices become journeypersons, says a new study commissioned by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS).

The report “Completion Counts: Raising Apprenticeship Completion Rates to Address Skills Shortages in Ontario’s Construction Industry” finds that three-quarters of apprentices being trained through a Joint Apprentice Training Trust (JATT) will complete their program and achieve a Certificate of Qualification compared to 58% who receive their training in other environments.

“Ontario’s union-employer training centres are an integral and growing piece of the province’s jobs training infrastructure,” said Sean Strickland, OCS’ CEO. “Union-employer training partnerships deliver better results. We see this in the number of union apprentices who complete their training and earn their certificate of qualification to become a journeyperson.”

According to the research and analysis conducted by the Apprenticeship Research Group (a consortium of Prism Economics, Prof. Morley Gunderson and Ipsos Reid), the partnership between construction labour unions and their contractor partners “ensures apprentices have the resources they need to complete their tenure and become journeypersons”.


The success of labour-management partnerships points to a new apprenticeship strategy that is aimed at flowing public dollars to those organizations that are most efficient in achieving results, continues OCS.

Policy initiatives would focus on three key areas:

1. Provincial commitment to the Canada Job Grant that encourages apprenticeship completion.
2. Implementation of procurement policies that encourage work for apprentices on all public infrastructure projects, including provincially funded projects in municipalities, hospitals, universities and colleges.
3. Leverage the investment and success currently achieved through joint labour-management partnerships.

“The industry-led approach to apprenticeship training often provides a high degree of trade specialization and creates a training culture,” said Strickland. “The result is custom-built facilities and programs that are designed, equipped and structured to provide the optimal conditions for delivering trade-specific training.”

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