JOC ARCHIVES

December 3, 2012

Concerns raised about training capacity in Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Building Trades Council is concerned about the future of the construction trades because the largest apprenticeship training institute in the province lacks the capacity to meet increasing demand.

“Fortunately, apprenticeship training for the trades has received more funds and they have been able to keep up so far, but we are concerned what will happen in the future,” said Terry Parker, business manager of the Saskatchewan Building Trades Council.

“More funding will be needed. We also need to start looking at partnerships with industry to help with training.”

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) recently said that enrolment this year to date is up four per cent compared to last year. In fact, enrollment grew by 30 per cent over the last four years.

Currently, 26,000 students are enrolled at SIAST in a short course or a full program, which are offered at campuses in Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon.

However, enrolment numbers are only one indicator of the shortage of training capacity at SIAST.

For every three students who accepted a seat in a SIAST certificate or diploma program this year, another two qualified applicants were turned away.

Seats were in high demand at all SIAST locations, but campuses in Saskatoon and Regina had the highest numbers of qualified applicants who could not be accommodated.

“If SIAST does not have enough room, they can partner with local unions to share space and trainers,” said Parker, who is also a member of the SIAST board of directors. “We need to think outside the box. For example we could also look to industry to help fiancé some of the training.”

SIAST ties program capacity to labour market need, but space limitations prevent the institute from responding fully.

The certificate and diploma programs attract more than 5,500 applicants in a year. However, the school only has room for 3,500.

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