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CAF national symposium to focus on engaging youth

Angela Gismondi
CAF national symposium to focus on engaging youth

The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) is hosting a national symposium, Preparing Youth for Careers in the Skilled Trades, to get insight from the apprenticeship community and share best practices on how to better engage young people and get them to see the value of apprenticeship and careers in the skilled trades.

The symposium will be held Oct. 24-25 in Ottawa.

“It’s the first time we’re doing a national symposium looking at these particular topics,” said France Daviault, CAF executive director.

“We’ve had a few youth conferences in the past but what makes this one different is we’re really trying to use best practices across the sectors to really inform where we are going forward.”

The symposium is primarily geared towards the service providers and the people that are working to engage the youth such as educators and those involved in pre-apprenticeship programs like colleges and trade unions.

Daviault noted there has been a big focus on the skilled trades recently with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing the development of a national Skilled Trades Advisory Committee.

“The focus of the symposium is, in general, to talk about what do we need to do for youth in making sure that they’re not just aware but prepared,” Daviault explained.

“There is this notion that recruiting youth into the trades is great but if they come into the trades lacking skills that doesn’t help anybody. The focus is how can we prepare these youth, once they are interested, in being successful in going through the apprenticeship process and going on to becoming a journeyperson.”

The objectives on day one are to learn about the latest apprenticeship research, share information about pre-apprenticeship programs, provide feedback on evaluation tools for measuring success in pre-apprenticeship and network with others working in apprenticeship and build partnerships.

“The first day is going to be about what are some of the programs that need to be available in order to make sure that youth entering the trades are successful,” said Daviault, adding that CAF recently published best practices in pre-apprenticeship programs.

“We want to talk about that and we want to hear what is happening across the country in some programs that are working well. Part of what CAF does well is bring people together so they can talk about their programs. We give them a platform to share best practices.”

The topics covered on the first day will include Pre-Apprenticeship in Canada presented by CAF; Sharing Best Practices; Research Presentations Women in the Trades: From Apprenticeship to Workforce, presented by Statistics Canada; Evaluating Success in Pre-Apprenticeship, presented by R.A. Malatest and Associates; Tracking Results; and Who Finishes and Who Discontinues their Apprenticeship Training, presented by Statistics Canada. It also includes a Partnering for Success Interactive Activity.

Day two will focus on sharing ideas related to promoting careers in the skilled trades, identifying key messages and best practices and networking.

“The second day is really going to be to digging into what are the key messages that work well to attract youth,” said Daviault.

“They are going to hear about some of the things that are working well so they can take it back to their own organizations and maybe implement some of the best practices. They will also be able to network amongst each other and brainstorm ideas together. What ends up happening at these events is that people who don’t have a chance to talk to each other regularly attend these events… When they are all in the same room and it gives them an opportunity to talk to each other and brainstorm and they usually go out of these meetings creating little projects amongst themselves.”

The second day will include a panel discussion and two small group discussions on key messages and resources.

“It’s a great opportunity to hear what’s going on it’s a great opportunity to inform what’s going on contribute to some of the ideas,” said Daviault of the benefits of attending the symposium.

“It’s also a great opportunity to network with people that are like-minded that may be able to partner with them on some initiatives.”

Follow Angela Gismondi on Twitter @DCN_Angela.

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