CIIA and other stakeholders have achieved positive results for Ontario apprenticeships.
Four years ago, CIIA (Collision Industry Information Assistance), the Ontario collision repair trade association, took a serious look at apprentices for and in the trade of Auto Body Collision Damage Repairer (ABCDR).
The number of apprentices was dropping. Signups were becoming more scarce. Shops were complaining of unfilled positions. And training colleges were deciding not to run training classes as the number of folks looking for training decreased.
CIIA dug deep and found the data that mattered. Over a set period, some 314 students (including pre-apprentices) had signed up for the industry but only 132 went to school for training that is mandatory for apprentices. Ontario was not unique. Alberta had 276 first year ABCDR apprentices with only 74 going to school.
Reality was that Ontario had enough new students for 10 first year classes but only four classes were held. Colleges were inviting other trades to training when ABCDR apprentices did not show up.
Seventy-five percent of new collision repair apprentices across Canada did not go to school.
Here’s what we did as an association:
We started an industry-run project called Apprenticeship Disconnect. Our partners were interested shops, suppliers, colleges, trade boards and the self-managed regulatory authority.
Cooperation has been excellent and resulted in these successes:
• Rescheduling of classes to months where employers can safely release apprentices for school.
• More grants, loans, credits to both hire and retain apprentices, for employers and apprentices.
• Sponsorship of student orientation classes is pending.
• Sponsorship of awards days for graduating apprentices (first one in June at Mohawk College).
• New Red Seal exam for apprentices started in March.
• New training standards became effective in June 2015 (includes new technology applications).
• First trade ever to have a new student logbook for employers.
• New training mandated for Collision Avoidance Technologies, PDR and Estimating.
• New equipment donations to community college programs.
• Harmonization project between provinces to start.
• Enforcement blitzes taking place in London and Markham and other areas.
• Better opportunities to stay in touch with apprentices and employers.
• CIIA offers the largest HR employment site for the industry for applicants and employers.
• New and extra classes being announced for the trade by the Colleges as more students sign in.
• New private training for young people being considered towards a future apprentice position. Initiatives like the CIIA CofQ exam prep course helped 92 of these students last year gain additional training for the exam, with the aim of generating higher personal and industry completion rates. We then offered a 2/3rds fee rebate on many course costs.
One year ago today we had 4,233 licensed Auto Body Collision Damage Repairer technicians in Ontario.
• Today we stand at 4,369 licensed technicians.
• One year ago we had 625 apprentices. This year we proudly have 668.
• From Aug. 2015 to Aug. 2016, 65 apprentices passed the first try exam and 106 challengers passed.
• From May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2016, Ontario recorded 243 new apprentices and a total of 412 journeymen trades certificates were issued for Auto Body Collision Damage Repairer).
The facts say this initiative is working. They demonstrate that provincial trade associations can have a huge positive impact on and for the trade.