How Fanshawe’s skilled trades and apprenticeship programs are progressing

A graphic showing the title: How Fanshawe's skilled trades and apprenticeship programs are progressing CREDIT: FSU PUBLICATIONS AND COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT

The labour market needs skilled tradespeople urgently, but the available workforce is decreasing. The number of people retiring from the skilled trades is outweighing the number of people applying. The government is well aware of this issue and has been putting millions of dollars into skilled trades programs in colleges and universities across Canada. Job opportunities in skilled trades are projected to rise by 10 to 20 per cent in the next eight years. At Fanshawe, over 40 programs and apprenticeships are dedicated to skilled trades, attracting more than 5,000 students annually.

Fanshawe has received money from the government and from donations for its skilled trades and apprenticeships programs.

Steve Crema, Chair of the School of Building Technology at Fanshawe said that the skilled trades and apprenticeship program is advancing here at Fanshawe College.

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“It’s something we spend a lot of time doing because we’re trying to prepare students and apprentices for what’s in the industry now, but also the skills for three, five, 10 years down the road.”

In these programs they have started implementing things that are not specifically in the provincial curriculum, such as iPads, computer abilities, remote devices and drones.

Crema has been at Fanshawe College since 2009 and has been in his current position for six years. Since his appointment in 2017, the program has seen a lot of changes and has moved at rapid speeds.

“Honestly, it’s hard to keep up with because every part, every trade has different parts and every part of every trade is changing in its own unique ways,” he said. “So the old days of, you know, big rolls of blueprints that people walk around and they set them out on the table…That doesn’t happen anymore.”

In late January of this year, Fanshawe had a huge donation in the sum of $2 million, donated by the Crich Family. These finances were then put into a program called the Don Crich Skill Trades Accelerator. This program is an entrance point for all members of the community to learn more about trades and share employment opportunities. The space is expected to greatly boost the number of students joining skilled trades education in the London area.

As Crema put it, the $2 million donated by the Crich family was to “create something that was going to address that missing part of the ecosystem.”

The main goal in the future is to help more apprentices in London and the surrounding area to find employers as well as employers being able to find highly qualified apprentices.

“The Crich Skilled Trades Accelerator officially opened here in the beginning part of May,” Crema said. “But already there’s a lot more word of mouth being discussed in London about trades and what’s going to happen and how we can work together.”

Crema’s main priority seems to be helping the students at Fanshawe College succeed in the trades.

“We’ll see more people successfully complete their trade, earn their license and be working in the field, and we hope that there’s lots of interesting opportunities for everybody to help that system so the government can find ways to help employers, apprentices can find jobs, employers can find work, colleges can promote new developments in the trades and curriculum. We just hope that it improves the ecosystem.”

Skilled trades programs at Fanshawe are experiencing encouraging progress and exciting developments that will benefit students in many ways. With these changes, students can look forward to a more interactive and comprehensive learning experience.