The Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers (ARCCAW) has been a long-time partner of Skills Canada Alberta’s Provincial Skills Canada Competition, supporting the exhilarating Launchpad and hosting the Carpentry Try-A-Trade®. To celebrate our partnership, we visited their Edmonton Training Centre, to learn more about the work they do to promote skilled trades in Alberta.
ARCCAW is the provincial body serving over 13,000 members of four local unions. ARCCAW offers various apprenticeship programs and invests over $3 million annually in professional development for their members through numerous upgrading courses including: blueprint reading, forklift training, surveying, rigging and a pre-employment program with Tradewinds to Success.
We spoke with several apprentices to learn more about the carpentry and scaffolding trades and what sets ARCCAW apart. When asked why they chose carpentry as a skilled trade, students enthused about “how broad it is… I can build a structure like a high rise to a little wooden box. In carpentry, we have our hands in every trade. We build a base, and everyone follows us as if we are the leaders.”
ARCCAW is the preferred training facility for many apprentices due to its small class sizes and one-on-one time with instructors. Class sizes are a maximum of 12-15 students, giving more in-depth training and supervision. Scaffolding Apprentice, Porscha Demyen, further explained she “enjoys the instructors and the interactions between teachers and students. The interaction is not forced but encouraged. The best part of this training is that we all work together.”
The spirit of giving back was evident throughout the Training Centre. Instructor Len Lopatynski explains that with many workers expected to retire soon, teaching gives him the opportunity to “pass on everything I have done and learned as a dedicated Union member over the past 29 years”, to ensure the knowledge is not lost on future workers. For students, carpentry is much more than a job. First-year apprentice, Yunis Shire, said he hopes to become a Master Carpenter in Canada and return to his roots in Somalia to help ‘build much-needed infrastructure’.
Whilst the possibility for careers in carpentry and scaffolding are varied, the Apprentices told us they are most looking forward to continuous learning and leadership. “There’s so much learning. Once you become a journeyman, you’re still learning. That is the number one thing I’ve been told – that is when you truly start to learn. You’re on your own with someone underneath your wing and that’s exciting for me – to keep pushing my limits and where I want to go.”
Skills Canada Alberta is proud of our partnership with ARCCAW, as we share the common goal of promoting skilled trades to youth and educating Alberta’s youth about careers available to them in the trades and technologies. We look forward to continuing our partnership.