Trades programs on the upswing
The trades have become a hot ticket at Red Deer College.
Patricia Rokosh, the college’s dean of trades and manufacturing technologies, said RDC has already filled 75 per cent of its approximately 2,500 apprenticeship positions for this academic year, which wraps up in June 2013.
“The exciting thing about this year is that we’re hitting this three-quarters full so early in the year,” Rokosh, who expects the tally to hit 90 per cent by January, said Wednesday.
Particularly popular have been the steamfitter/pipefitter, electrician, millwright, heavy equipment technology and welding programs.
“I don’t know if we have any spots left in heavy equipment.
“We might have one or two for the rest of the year, and we’ve already worked with Apprenticeship and Industry Training and added more seats for heavy equipment and more seats for welding, and we’re looking to see where we have capacity to add even more.”
Rokosh has also been struck by the ages of the students she’s seeing.
“We’ve got a lot of people in their 40s and later, who look to have been either working in industry and now just want to get their ticket, or people who are changing their career.
“It’s really exciting to us that the trades are attractive to such a wide range of people.”
In addition to Central Alberta’s growing population, Rokosh thinks the brisk enrolment in trades programs reflects the fact people are placing a greater value on such training. They know their ticket will have value across the country and be good for life, she said.
Rokosh also thinks employers are becoming more receptive to their staff entering an apprenticeship program, even though they lose them to school for a few months a year. They see the value of employee satisfaction and the revenue-generating potential of such workers.
Red Deer College has five intakes of trades students a year, with most programs running eight weeks.
The college will host an open house on Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At the main campus, prospective students can speak with trades instructors and learn about their options. They can even roll up their sleeves and see what the work entails, said Rokosh.
“We’ll have a lot of try-a-skill things, where they can get their hands into trying a little bit of carpentry or trying some welding or playing with some electricity.”
Red Deer College’s open house will also extend to its downtown campus in the Millennium Centre, where information about opportunities at the college’s Donald School of Business will be provided.
Additional details can be obtained online at www.rdc.ab.ca/openhouse.