Canadian Contractor

Patrick Flannery   

Former educator suspects bureaucratic agenda

apprentice sto trades training

“Sparky” is unimpressed with the new Skilled Trades Ontario organization and suspects more of the same as long as government is involved in regulating and subsidizing apprentices.

I have been involved in the trades for about 50 years now. I am very concerned about the latest PLAN. It already stinks of cash for life administrative jobs, red tape and government mismanagement. Of course the participants are thrilled with this new government initiative, they have just been handed a free ride on the backs of government and fees fees fees. Just like ESA and TSSA they have been turned into cash cows which had a safety mandate at one time but have turned it into greed. I taught electrical classes at Algonquin College and was always very disappointed when a student showed no basic knowledge of the trade after 3 years of their apprenticeship. Most would sheepishly say the were being used as goffers and labourers on the job sites because their hourly rate was subsidised and was cheaper than the union rate for a labourer. As for being run by a board of directors, I have been there, by the time these HAND PICKED board members get their position one thing is for certain they must play by the rules, they must do as told or they will be replaced. All the catchy slogans and free stuff is not going to help the trades. Keep the government, politics and high priced executives at bay and maybe with the right leadership and a hands on system with checks and balances to ensure the trades candidates are actually learning something it may work. To sum up greed or as they call it good business, I am aware of contractors who take on apprentices and free school students so they have another live face on site to bill out at $100 plus per hour. They are not interested in teaching them anything, just be there and look busy. I could go on for hours and yes the system has been a thorn in my ass for 5 decades.

– Sparky


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