The National Electrical Trade Council receives Government of Canada funding to support apprentices in the electrical trades across the country

May 5, 2021 - Today is day one of the National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) annual conference. This virtual event showcased speakers and educational sessions from across the country and included the roll-out of a major funding announcement that will surely raise the bar in relation to educating the skilled trades.

The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, addressed attendees virtually and announced that the Government of Canada is providing close to $5 million, over five years, to the National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) for the project Online Apprentice Support Initiatives for Success (OASIS) under the Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream of the Union Training and Innovation Program.

This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s $62 million investment over five years to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as the economy restarts. The OASIS project will support training in the electrical trades and prepare apprentices to succeed as trade workers. NETCO will work in partnership with several training providers in the electrical trades to support participants from communities in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

“Skilled tradespeople across the country have been critical during this pandemic and they will continue to play a vital role as Canada’s economy continues to recover. This $62 million investment will help Canadian apprentices, including those from key groups facing barriers, get the training they need to launch exciting and well-paying careers in the trades.” – Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough

 “We are very pleased with the federal government’s recent investments into the future of the labour force, specifically with a strong focus on the Red Seal trades,” says NETCO’s Executive Director Melissa Young.

“NETCO looks forward to delivering a strong training program in conjunction with our partner organizations including Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Buildforce Canada, Skill Plan, Indigenous Works, the Canadian Electrical Contractors Association, Employment and Social Development Canada and the IBEW,” says Young.

“Saskatchewan Polytechnic is excited by this innovative partnership. OASIS stands to have a significant impact by reducing barriers to apprenticeship completion, and by providing upgrading and essentials skills training opportunities on a flexible, accessible and personalized platform,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Saskatchewan Polytechnic president and CEO. “These outcomes will play an essential part in future-proofing a diverse group of tradespeople entering the workforce. OASIS’s forward-thinking focus on areas such as green energy, mental health awareness, financial literacy, and diversity and inclusion will have far-reaching benefits.” 

Using an innovative approach, NETCO will address multiple barriers that limit apprenticeship outcomes by pioneering a forward-looking approach to training.

OASIS has three main objectives:

  1. Increase support for apprentices at each level of their apprenticeship towards attaining their certificate by creating an on-line national comprehensive learning management system.
  2. Improve knowledge in areas such as academic upgrading, and essential skills for union electrical apprentices, pre-apprenticeship in underrepresented groups and employers.
  3. Provide access to innovative green energy programs that will expose apprentices to the latest technologies in this evolving sector.

The OASIS project will not only better prepare apprentices for new employment through supplemental training but will also help ensure their success in completion of an electrical apprenticeship. As NETCO continually strives to develop best in class practices for our stakeholders, the OASIS project becomes an extension of our mandate and categorically furthers its mission.

Some OASIS course examples include Introduction and advanced to Solar PV, Introduction and advanced to Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (charging stations -- Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment), Introduction and advanced to Energy Storage and Smart Grids and Alternative Energy Generation.

NETCO looks forward to releasing more details on this exciting project in the weeks and months to come. There are also sponsorship opportunities for manufacturers and other industry stakeholders to be involved as training partners in this exciting endeavor.

“In order to help maintain a robust, diverse, and inclusive workforce, strong importance is being placed on the skilled trades to ensure that Canadians have the resources they need to access good, well-paying jobs. OASIS will be paramount to assist in training the future of the Electrical Industry,” said Young.