Ontario Improves Skilled Trade System
For the past 22 years we have been promoting careers in the skilled trades and technologies as viable, first choice career options for young people. We have had many wonderful success stories and have encouraged many students across the province to pursue a very rewarding career choice.
Despite these accomplishments our team still has a big mountain to climb – the mountain of misconception. How do we enhance the value, or importance, of skilled trade and technological careers in our society?
Careers in medicine, law, and education are respected career choices – as they should be, because they are important. But where would these professionals perform their work without qualified tradespeople to design, construct and maintain our hospitals, courthouses and schools?
Many of the professions mentioned above have a regulatory body, such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Nurses and the Ontario College of Teachers. These professional bodies have a very important function, such as issuing licenses, advocating on behalf of the profession, and improving the knowledge and skills of its members. It also gives these professions credibility and garners greater respect from the public.
In the Fall of 2009, the Government of Ontario established the Ontario College of Trades. The College of Trades will be a regulatory body that gives industry a greater role in recruitment, governance, certification and apprenticeship training. It will also give the skilled trades a professional regulatory body similar to teachers, doctors and nurses.
I was proud to have been one of nine industry leaders chosen to serve as the Appointments Council and interim Board for the Ontario College of Trades. The College will establish a framework of fees to support itself, and develop a complaints, enforcement and discipline system to govern its members.
As a member of the Council I was able to recommend that Kevin Piunno, a past competitor from the Ontario Technological Skills Competition, design a new website for the College.
Kevin, a 2nd-year student from Niagara College, has been competing at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition since he was a secondary school student at the Niagara District School Board. As a secondary school competitor, Kevin earned a gold medal in 2008 and a silver medal in 2009 in the Website Development contest. Kevin competed in Website Development again in May 2010 as a post-secondary school student, earning his second gold medal.
The Ontario College of Trades website (http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/) will be launched very soon. Good work, Kevin!
We know we still have a large part of the mountain to climb, however with the establishment of the College of Trades, we are one step closer to the summit.
For information on the College of Trades, visit http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/tcu/collegeoftrades/.