Pilot program taking off

A pilot program aims to reduce the amount of time apprentices spend away from the job.

The goal of the Okanagan College innovation pilot is to reduce apprentices' time away from work from 10 weeks to five.

Okanagan College will receive more than $218,000 from the B.C. Liberals for the program that will improve training outcomes and employability for apprentices.

The pilot is taking place within the level 1 electrician program and aims to develop a hybrid model for students, which would include face-to-face instruction, as well as e-learning to deliver the curriculum.

In 2015, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) held regional innovation forums and a provincial conference to bring training providers and industry together to discuss ways to promote more innovation in B.C.'s trades training system.

This year, the ITA invited B.C.'s 14 post-secondary institutions and 24 non-public training providers that receive annual ITA funding to submit pilot proposals. The purpose of these pilots is to test and evaluate novel methods of delivering trades training programs that result in better outcomes for apprentices and their employer sponsors.

Through the pilots, the ITA will promote new ways of delivering training programs to enhance apprentices' training experiences and enable them to be more effective on the job and better meet industry's needs. Innovation pilots are designed to address one or more of the following four outcomes identified by industry:

  • Provide more flexible and innovative training that enables employers to keep apprentices at work longer, and allow apprentices to maximize their earning potential.
  • Improve employability and sponsorship out of foundation programs.
  • Increase access to training for rural and under-represented groups.
  • Improve alignment of technical training to the needs of apprentices and sponsors.

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