Skills Canada Alberta (SCA) shares a strong partnership with UA Local 488 through the Provincial Skills Canada Competition, and the Skills in the Classroom program. UA Local 488 and the Alberta Pipetrades College have invested in SCA programming for many years, and we are appreciative of their ongoing support. To celebrate our continued partnership, we visited the Alberta Pipetrades College to learn more about the training opportunities there.
The Alberta Pipetrades College offers three Apprenticeship programs - Pipe Fitting, Plumbing, and Welding. In addition, they offer Professional Development programs for their members. UA Local 488 also partners with Tradewinds for Success to offer a 10-week program for individuals with an indigenous background who are interested in getting into the trades. On average, the college sees 1500-2000 students in a year, 300 of them being apprentices.
We spoke with one welding apprentice about his experience training at UA Local 488. "It's a very comfortable learning environment, and all the help that you need is here. I am happy to be doing my training here."
UA Local 488 and the Alberta Pipe Trades College believes that community outreach and involvement is important. "We really like to be out in the community, and working with young people in the hopes that they will learn more about the trades, and that we can break some of the stereotypes around the trades", says Shawn Friedenberger, Director of Communications for UA Local 488 and the Alberta Pipetrades College.
When asked about why UA Local 488 values their partnership with Skills Canada Alberta, Shawn explained "We're able to educate people about UA, and what we do. Again, there are a lot of stereotypes around unions, and we are able to break those. We can meet with high school students one on one and are able to answer questions about membership, training etc. from the UA point of view. We want to share with people that we have the very best instructors and that our student to teacher ratio is outstanding."
Nick Diduck, Assistant Department Head, adds "Baby boomers are retiring soon. That represents a large chunk of our workforce. When they retire, there need to be skilled tradespeople to meet that demand. And there will be a demand. We want high school students who are interested in the trades to be aware of this."
Skills Canada Alberta is proud of our partnership with UA Local 488, as we share the same goal of educating our province about the career opportunities that are and will continue to be available in the trades and technologies. We look forward to working with them to achieve this goal.