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NEWS RELEASE · 18th February 2013
NWCC Students' Union
TERRACE – Northwest Community College Students’ Union is proposing several changes to the way trades programs are governed, financed and implemented. Students are concerned that the government has given too much power to employers to say how trades programs are taught. Apprenticeship completion rates can be improved and gaps in skilled workers can be filled; but, it will take action by the provincial government.

“At one time the trades system in BC was one of the best in the world - there are several steps that government can take to improve the current system,” said Mikael Jensen, an Organiser for the Northwest Community College Students’ Union.

Students are suggesting government make policies to ensure employers offer comprehensive apprenticeships, include seats for students on the Industry Training Authority board, discourage modularization of trades programs, return the ITA to the Ministry of Advanced Education, reinstate apprentice support workers and increase operating funds for apprenticeship programs.

At NWCC, new cooks helper training is running while the certified professional chef apprenticeship program in culinary arts is not. Second-year professional chef program has not been run at NWCC for several semesters, but the college is currently offering a cooks helper program for the second semester in a row. The next time the professional chef program will produce a graduate will be in 2014.

“The new funding provided by the ITA for trades at our college has come for pre-apprenticeship training programs that currently do not ladder into actual accredited apprenticeship programs,” said Jensen. “To be clear, we do not disagree with the idea of basic programming being offered at our college, but it should be known that students do not believe that these new programs will fix the skilled worker shortage. A serious commitment is required on the part of the provincial government to re-build the BC apprenticeship system so it works better for everyone in BC.”

NWCCSU members make up Local 66 of the Canadian Federation of Students. We represent NWCC students in Prince Rupert, Terrace, Kitimat, Hazelton, Smithers and Houston. Our students’ union has worked to the benefit of NWCC students since 1989.

The fault lies maybe elsewhere
Comment by Dave B on 18th February 2013
The fault may not be with the colleges but with the Government that hands out the funds and sets the rules.
The British apprenticeship system was a very good example of what works - how it is now days with big business pulling strings I don't know -I've lost my connections - but I know when I was there in the 1960's it was a very good system that produced very excellent tradesmen.
How we allowed in not only Canada and BC, things to deteriorate to where they are is a disgrace.
We have allowed big business off the hook for the benefit of their share holders who are either not part of this country except for profit or are "above and beyond" the average working class people.
Cook Training
Comment by alan on 18th February 2013
In the late 70s, the cook training programs under Jack Johnson and Brian Parkes were the jewel in the crown. Graduates were placed in the prime jobs on BC Ferries, 5 star kitchens in the Northwest and the Lower Mainland. Now, they have opportunities in fast food joints. I have witnessed the decline over the years and I find it shameful. NWCC has been in catchup mode in all Trades sectors for years. Why on earth would anyone want to attend. Upper management really needs to have a group head shake and get us back to where we were.