A group of Aboriginal students from across British Columbia has completed the successful pilot testing of a streamlined program designed to bring them into the electrical trades.
The “Alternate Pathways to Electrical Careers” program, endorsed by industry and government, represents a new approach to skilled trades entry. Starting in January 2017, a selected group of students from Aboriginal backgrounds received individualized training from SkillPlan instructors in the math, science and English skills required for electrical apprenticeship. In March, they progressed to the long-established Entry Level Trades Training (ELTT) program, a rigorous 15-week combination of electrical theory and practice provided by B.C.’s Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC).
“We were more than pleased by the energy and excitement these students brought to our training centre,” said Graham Trafford, President of the EJTC. “They’ve helped to show that an Essential Skills approach to electrical trades entry can be a practical alternative to the more common option, which is to return to high school to pick up missing credits.”
“Alternative Pathways to Electrical Careers” is a collaboration among the EJTC, the Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society (ACCESS), and SkillPlan, a leader in workforce skills development based in the B.C. Lower Mainland. ACCESS provided marketing and recruitment services, candidate assessment, student coaching, and support services such as transportation. SkillPlan led the development of the Essential Skills component of the program and provided Essential Skills instructors.
“ACCESS has supported hundreds of trainees from Aboriginal backgrounds in gaining skills certification,” said John Webster, ACCESS CEO. “We are confident that the Alternate Pathways program will open up electrical trades entry to a wider spectrum of capable, motivated people. We look forward to offering the program to our clients on a regular basis in the future.”
“The electrical trades are an excellent career choice for men and women who bring the right aptitudes,” said Kyle Downie, CEO of SkillPlan. “It’s a demanding trade, and entry standards need to be exact. The EJTC’s industry partners deserve credit for recognizing that a course focused on the Essential Skills needed for electrical work provides a strong equivalent to the math, science and English scores shown on a high school transcript.”
On June 30, ACCESS hosted a graduation ceremony for 14 students who completed the formal instructional part of the EJTC’s Entry-Level Trades Training. They now begin 10 weeks of paid work experience, a standard feature of the EJTC’s entry-level training.