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St. Lawrence College investment in Skilled Trades will address labour shortage

2009-02-25

As Ontario faces a labour shortage of more than 360,000 workers, according to the Conference Board of Canada, two new programs at St. Lawrence College in Welding Technician and Motive Power Technician will be a big step forward in alleviating the problem. The Co-op Diploma, Apprenticeship programs in Welding Technician and Motive Power Technician (automotive) are set to start in Fall 2009 and will be delivered on the Cornwall campus.

"These two programs are geared toward those who want a college diploma, and who want to take advantage of the skill shortage and the job opportunities that come with it, said Bob Melrose, coordinator of Trades, St. Lawrence College, Cornwall campus.

Students in these programs are automatically registered as an apprentice with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. In addition, their placement hours are logged for the apprenticeship and these placements are paid working opportunities. This ensures that the work placements are pertinent experiences and related training opportunities. At graduation, students will receive a two-year college diploma and will have all the in-school training necessary to meet the requirements of the provincially administered apprenticeship program. They will also qualify for the Certificate of Qualification for Welding Technicians once they complete the work requirements for their apprenticeship.

To meet the needs of the industry and to ensure up-to-date training facilities, the St. Lawrence College is investing substantial funds in their shops and on trades equipment. This Wednesday, February 25, St. Lawrence College will be commissioning a $30,000 Machitech Computerized Plasma Burning table. This "state-of-the-art" table is one of the investments the College has put towards supporting their trades programs.

Funding for the purchase of this new equipment has come from the St. Lawrence College Foundation. "We are pleased to be able to support this initiative", says Peter Gault, Chair of the St. Lawrence College Foundation. "Through the generosity of those who support our Foundation we are able to ensure students at our community's college are working with the latest technologies."

Don Fairweather, Campus Dean, was also thankful for the community’s support and expressed his commitment to the trades: "We want to do our part in ensuring that our graduates meet the needs of the skilled trades industry and that they help fill the ever-diminishing pool of workers for the next generation of jobs."

Victoria Hill, who graduated from the welding program in 2007, says that her training at St. Lawrence College helped her get the job she has today. "I worked as a welder after graduation. One year later, I began working for W.R. Davis Engineering Ltd in Ottawa and was promoted because of my welding background."