Last week’s announcement of the Canada Apprenticeship Program is good news to everyone across the country, with cooling oil prices, according to Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Gerry Ritz.
“Even as there are more jobs than people, with the downturn in the oilpatch it’s an opportunity for apprentices .... in one of the provincially Red Seal trades ... to go back to school and get an upgrade and get back an apprenticeship,” Ritz said interview after the announcement.
Access to loans for Canadians can range up to $4,000 per period of technical training. The loans are interest free until after loan recipients complete or leave their apprenticeship training program, up to a maximum of six years.
Ritz said that this will give the incentive to those Canadians who want to go back to school and can’t afford to purchase specialized equipment for each of the apprenticeships.
“There will also be a grant that will come into play after they complete training,” he added. “It’s good news when it comes to the work force here in Saskatchewan.”
On the other flip side of the coin, employers who are currently struggling to find apprentices to fill job vacancies will benefit from the program moving forward as well.
“It benefits both sides of the industry. Employers will have access to a well-educated and well-trained workforce,” Ritz said. “We are asking industry to drive this program and make sure that students will come back with the training that will benefit the industry across Canada.”
Red Seal trades encompass 57 skilled trades, including bakers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians, gasfitters, heavy equipment operators, ironworkers, machinists, painters, plumbers, sheet metal workers and truck mechanics, to name a few.
As to why the announcement was at the beginning of the year, Ritz said that with companies revving up for the work year it was a great time to help Canadians who want to get an apprenticeship get started in their trade.
“We are going into another year for a lot of these programs ... we are also looking at a lot of people who could face layoffs because of the cooling oil prices, as it is doing right now, it’s a perfect time for people to say that they are going to go back to school and take some training,” he said.
Apprenticeships for Red Seal programs can be around six- to eight-week cycles, according to Ritz.
Repayment of the loan will take place six years after the completion of the apprenticeship, according to Ritz.