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Conestoga gains apprenticeship funding

Conestoga College is one of Ontario's largest suppliers of apprenticeship education. In recognition of its achievements and with an increased focus by the provincial government on the value of apprenticeships, the College has received more than $1.5 million to apply towards various pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship activities.

"This funding is very important," says Hans Zawada, Conestoga's chair of trades and apprenticeship. "Compared to other regions of the province, most of our trades are manufacturing trades, and our region is much above the provincial and national averages for manufacturing industries. Conestoga College is very supportive of the importance and value of apprenticeship training. We deliver about 10% of all the college-based apprenticeship training in the province of Ontario."

Conestoga offers apprenticeship instruction in 13 registered trades through its Guelph and Doon campuses.

Apprenticeship combines employment, featuring on-the-job training, with three periods (basic, intermediate and advanced) of in-college training, resulting in the achievement of journeyperson status. The entire process usually takes four or five years.

Among the initiatives for which the College has received funding are the following:
  • A grant of $220,000 will be used to launch a pre-apprenticeship program in carpentry, beginning in April. In this program, 20 students will become familiar with the carpentry trade and career opportunities, as well as gain practical work experience. Those who complete the program and obtain an apprenticeship will gain exemption from the basic phase of in-college training.
  • A grant of $375,000 under the Women In Skilled Trades initiative will result in Conestoga offering two pre-apprenticeship programs for women, both of which begin this month. One program is in carpentry, the other in precision machining and tooling.
  • A grant of $224,000 under the Journeyperson Updating program will be used to develop and deliver new, advanced courses for journeypersons already employed in the plumber/steamfitter trades. The Journeyperson Updating program recognizes the need for apprentices to develop advanced skills reflecting the reality of a workplace undergoing constant, often dramatic technological change.
  • A grant of $741,000 under the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund will go towards improving equipment and facilities for apprenticeship programs throughout the college. The largest portion of the grant will be used for a new apprenticeship program, machine tool builder integrator.

    Much attention has recently gone towards the introduction of applied degree programs at Conestoga, and towards the college's achievement in being one of only three Ontario colleges to earn status as an Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

    According to Conestoga president John Tibbits, however, the college remains firmly committed to its comprehensive mission and mandate as a full-service educational facility for the region, providing everything from preparatory and academic upgrading programs, to certificate and diploma programs in a broad range of career areas, to degree and postgraduate programs.

    An important part of the college's current operations and future plans is its commitment to apprenticeship training.

    "Over the last seven years, we have doubled our apprenticeship enrolment," Zawada observes, adding that the college is planning for a further 30% growth in apprenticeship activity in the future.


    Lambton College is gearing up for its annual open house, designed to offer parents and students an opportunity to begin building a solid academic foundation for the future.

    When the doors swing open on Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you'll have an opportunity to gain insight into college life, and get a first-hand look at the program that fits your needs and satisfies your dreams.

    The day begins with an opening ceremony and a performance by the Lambton Lions Cheerleaders at 10 a.m. in the gymnasium, and the college is finalizing a vigorous schedule of activities that include tours of the campus and residence every half-hour. Check out the live rock music by Adam 12 in the cafeteria, cooking demonstrations by hospitality and tourism management students, and the St. Christopher High School Jazz Band.

    Feel free to tour the campus, talk one-on-one to our highly skilled Professors, meet students already in the program, find out more about our student services, and much more.

    For more information about the open house, contact Cindy Buchanan, director of marketing and communications, at 519 542-7751 ext. 3334, or send email to

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