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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Setting the pace for high-demand training in the trades

Toronto School of Drywall (TSD) is a unique example in setting the needed pace in training -- making access to a high-paying career in construction for men and women a matter of weeks, not months.

TSD emerged last year from a government-funded program. To satisfy the severe demand for trained drywallers, TSD is offering training where training is almost impossible to get, thus providing access to high-paying jobs.
In just eight weeks, students at the Toronto School of Drywall receive top-level training to learn the fundamentals of a high-demand career.

"The average salary of a drywaller is presently $65,000 per year," says Sean Gobeil, president and founder of Toronto School of Drywall. "The severe shortage of skilled drywallers is no secret. What seems to be a problem is accessible training."

TSD runs an elite program that fast-tracks quality candidates to a skill level that makes them very attractive to employers. TSD's 95% graduate employment rate speaks volumes about their training system.

"It works! Our program takes quality candidates and trains them to be successful in the drywall field in only eight weeks," Gobeil says. "The secret is in our proprietor training method."

Employers have told TSD that if they had not seen it with their own eyes, they would have never have believed that these new employees had never touched a trowel eight weeks ago. When asked to guess their experience in the trade, one employer said he would guess two or three years.

"That's not to say that after eight weeks of our training our graduates are making 65K/year or have learned it all," Gobeil says. "They still have a lot to learn about the trade, and their biggest challenge will be to survive the first two or three months in a difficult environment while earning about $12/hr to start.

However, for the tenacious and determined, they will see their salaries rise drastically according to their speed and work ethic. In fact, none of our graduates from our first class, graduating in August 2002, were making less than $20/hr one year later."

The other factor in TSD's successful training program is where and how it trains. The Free Basement Finishing Program was created to complement TSD's training program and to give back to the community.

"Eighty per cent of the training is carried out on actual job sites, and employers know that this is a vastly superior way to learn than in-class simulation techniques. They are also interested in the fact that students get experience with the automatic drywall tools systems, which makes them potential high-production employees."

The program is available to the public (and even contractors) who want to offer their homes (or job sites) as training grounds for TSD's elite classroom, composed of no more than 10 students. The work is done for free, and the homeowner/contractor only pays for materials.

Alternatively, TSD even offers a crash course designed for homeowners.

TSD's next career training sessions begin in January and May 2004, with limited space available. Because of the success of the program, TSD plans to go national as Canada School of Drywall (CSD), with pilot courses offered in Ottawa and possibly Vancouver and London as early as next summer.

Says Gobeil: "Toronto School of Drywall is empowering its customers by providing the best quality drywall training programs available on the market and transforming them into tomorrow's elite drywall professionals."

For more information on the Toronto School of Drywall, contact Sean Gobeil at or call 905-270-0443. You can also visit

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