Success Stories

Trades and Apprenticeship Employer Newsletter

Trades & Apprenticeship Employer Newsletter 

Winter 2019 Message from the Chairs of Trades & Apprenticeship

At Conestoga we are passionate about the skilled trades and we are proud to be one of Ontario's largest providers of trades and apprenticeship programming.

We have excellent faculty and strong programming, and are constantly updating our shops to stay current with industry needs. We are extremely grateful to the employers in our community who support our programming through donations, through participation on our advisory committees or by hiring students and training apprentices in the workplace.

We are fortunate to be in a community that so strongly supports and values the skilled trades. Your involvement, dedication and commitment help make our trades and apprenticeship training successful.

We have had a busy fall so we wanted to share all of the exciting things going on at Conestoga in Trades & Apprenticeship. We hope you enjoy the update.

Rachel, Joni, Luis, Brenda, Suzanne and Stephen

Conestoga grads honoured at 2018 Premier's Awards gala

On Monday, November 26, Don Gosen was named the first recipient of a Premier's Award in the new category of Apprenticeship.

The awards, established in 1992, acknowledge the social and economic contribution that Ontario college graduates make to the province and throughout the world. Award recipients, chosen from nominations submitted by the province's 24 colleges, have demonstrated outstanding career success related to their college experience and have made significant contributions to their community.

A total of 118 graduates were nominated for the 2018 awards which recognize graduates in seven categories: Apprenticeship, Business, Community Services, Creative Arts and Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate and Technology.

Don is a two-time graduate of Conestoga, completing the Electrical Apprentice program in 1980 and the Air and Water Resources Technology program in 1974. Described as the Ontario apprenticeship program's biggest champion, Gosen sponsored more than 70 apprentices throughout his four decades as president of Gosen Electric before ceding the company to three of his former trainees.

Today, as Chair of the Ontario College of Trades (OCoT) and director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, Gosen works to strengthen the apprenticeship system by bridging communication and fostering collaborations between OCoT and the government, union and non-union organizations, and employers and apprentices. He teaches in the electrical apprenticeship program at Conestoga and received the Minister's Award for Apprenticeship Training in 2007. Read more

Outstanding Conestoga alumni honoured

Eight of Conestoga's outstanding alumni were recognized for their contributions to their professions and their community at the college's Alumni of Distinction Awards event held at the John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo on Wednesday, November 21.

"Conestoga alumni make a difference," said Mike Cybulski, president of Conestoga Alumni Council. "They are the people that shape our community and touch our lives every day."

"Tonight's award recipients come from a variety of backgrounds and academic achievements, but what they all have in common is the unwavering commitment to excellence that has helped them reach their individual goals, made their workplaces more effective and their communities better places to live," Cybulski continued. Read more

Conestoga community members nominated for K-W Women of the Year awards

Members of the Conestoga community are among the more than 45 distinguished women from across Waterloo Region that were nominated for the annual Oktoberfest Rogers Women of the Year awards.

"This award has been celebrating the accomplishments of women in Waterloo Region for 45 years," said Margo Jones, festival president. "Nominees are involved with every aspect of the community -- from inspiring others through their thought provoking art, fitness journeys and bold career moves to aiding people both at home and abroad -- and we're honoured to celebrate their achievements."

The women were nominated by residents in the region across 10 categories and will be recognized at the Women of the Year ceremony on October 1 at LOT42.

Jackie Morris, a Conestoga graduate and part-time faculty member and technologist, was nominated in the STEAM category which recognizes outstanding achievement in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
Morris volunteers her time as an advocate and mentor for women in skilled trades and was named a 2018 Woman of Distinction by the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph. Read more

Freshco CEO Mandy Rennehan delivers holiday surprise

On November 28, students in Conestoga's Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) program received a special visit from retail construction and maintenance magnate Mandy Rennehan, founder and CEO of Freshco, who presented each of the women with a $500 cheque.

"I need you to know that the reason Freshco is giving you money before Christmas is because a) I care, and b) I need you to want to stay in this program," explained Rennehan. "I want you to use it for you."

Known as the Blue-Collar CEO, Rennehan is an advocate of the trades and women in the trades, and speaks widely on the topic of the skilled trades shortage in Canada. Over the last few months she has received the 2018 Business Leader award from the Toronto Region Board of Trade, was named one of the top 25 Women of Influence for 2018, and was inducted into the Women's Executive Network's Hall of Fame after receiving its Top 100 award for the fourth time. Read more

Woodworking Centre of Ontario is "a hidden gem"

At approximately 52,000 square feet, Conestoga's Woodworking Centre of Ontario is the largest facility of its kind in North America and ranks among the world's top woodworking training centres.

"This place is a hidden gem," said student Ryan Korczak in an article published in the Waterloo Region Record on November 25. Korczak lives in Hamilton and said he never imagined to find an advanced training facility so close to home. He turned to Conestoga after working on Toyota's assembly line for 16 years and now plans to become a master cabinetmaker.

Conestoga's woodworking facility opened in 1988 and celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year.

The college delivers a two-year woodworking technician program, a three-year co-op woodworking technology program, and a cabinetmaker apprenticeship program. Students have access to custom woodworking and production training as well as the latest in Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and drafting technology. Read more

Conestoga graduates compete at Bricklayer 500

On September 5, the province's top stone masons competed in the Bricklayer 500 Ontario regional championship at Conestoga's Roofing Skills and Training Centre at the Waterloo campus. The event showcases the skill and craftsmanship of professional masons who compete for the title of Ontario's best bricklayer. This year, four Conestoga graduates were among the competitors.

The competition was established by SPEC MIX, Inc. in 2003 to drive workforce development and promote the masonry industry. Conestoga is one of just four Canadian locations to host the event - this was the eleventh year it was held at the college - and graduates Lyndon Brubacher, Felisha Lainey, Keith Richards and Dakota Bezemer were among the 19 teams involved.

Competitors were required to build a 26 ft. wall and the win went to the team able to lay the most bricks in one hour. Read more

Weston Family Scholarship recipients named

Twenty-four Conestoga trades students and eight apprenticeship students have been named recipients of the Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades for 2018-19.

The scholarship program was announced earlier this year; over the course of four years it will give more than 65 students and close to 20 apprentices in a range of construction, industrial and motive power sector programs an opportunity to pursue successful careers in the skilled trades.

The scholarships have been structured to support students throughout the completion of their programs: recipients will receive up to $4,000 from the Weston Family Scholarship program and will also receive tuition awards from Conestoga each academic year to assist with tuition costs. Read more

Brantford campus named Champion of the Year

Conestoga's Brantford campus has been named the 2018 Champion of the Year by the Downtown Brantford Business Improvement Area (DBBIA). Karen Towler, manager of Operations and Program Planning at the campus, accepted the award on October 4 at DBBIA's annual general meeting at Brantford's Sanderson Centre.

The BIA, which represents more than 200 businesses and 150 properties in Brantford, established the Champion of the Year award to recognize dedication and commitment to the community. The BIA executive considers nominations of individuals or community groups who actively promote downtown Brantford as a live, work, play and learning destination, and who have successfully demonstrated excellence in community relations.

"We are honoured to have the Downtown Brantford BIA recognize our contribution to this community," said Towler. "Brantford has always welcomed Conestoga and we are pleased to deliver programs that provide our students with the skills to support the city and local businesses."

Conestoga was named Champion of the Year in recognition of its contribution to the community - notably the number of students it has brought to Brantford as well as its support of local businesses in the downtown area. Read more

Conestoga celebrates grand opening of new campus in Waterloo

Industry and community partners, current and former students and local dignitaries joined in the celebration as Conestoga marked the grand opening of its newly expanded campus in Waterloo at a special evening event held on October 18.

The $58M expansion project, initiated in 2016 with support provided through the Government of Canada's Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, provides 150,000 additional square feet of classroom, lab and student space. Special features include state-of-the-art culinary and hospitality labs, a new, expanded student-run restaurant open to the public, technology-enabled classrooms and a Welcome Centre that will provide access to programming and services for full and part-time students, newcomers to Canada and individuals seeking career counselling or job search support. Read more

Explore careers in engineering at Go ENG Girl

On Saturday, October 13, Conestoga's School of Engineering and Information Technology hosted Go ENG Girl at the Cambridge campus. The free event provided young women in grades seven to 10 with an opportunity to explore the field of engineering through hands-on activities, discussions with women studying engineering and a tour of the campus.

Go ENG Girl events are hosted annually by engineering schools throughout Ontario. The event was conceived by the Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) to help dispel stereotypes in engineering by connecting girls to female engineering students and alumna. According to ONWiE, women made up only 20 per cent of the students enrolled in post-secondary engineering programs across Ontario in 2017. Read more

Motive Power Job Fair 2019

Our annual Motive Power Job Fair will be held on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at Conestoga's Guelph Campus.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to a happy and prosperous 2019.