Trades & apprenticeship employer newsletter

December, 2019

Message from the Chairs of Trades & Apprenticeship

At Conestoga, we are passionate about the skilled trades and 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, participating 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. 

Suzanne, Rachel, Joni, Jeff, Luis and Stephen

Conestoga to develop showcase facility for trades education

Local politicians, industry partners and friends of Conestoga joined college employees at a special event on Tuesday, November 19 where President John Tibbits announced the development of a new Skilled Trades Training campus to be developed in Cambridge.

The college has completed the purchase of a 250,000 square foot facility at 25 Reuter Drive, in the heart of Cambridge Business Park with visibility and proximity to Highway 401. Originally constructed in 2003 with substantial renovations completed in 2009, the facility includes upgraded office and manufacturing areas ideally suited to unique requirements of trades education and training.

The land parcel of 41.2 acres provides future expansion opportunities. Read more.

Conestoga to lead national pre-apprenticeship initiative

The Government of Canada will invest $6.9 million over the next three years to support a new Conestoga project that will result in the delivery of the college's Welding Pre-Apprenticeship program at partner institutions across Canada as well as in the local community. Read more.

Information sessions are starting in January for candidates interested in Welding.

Ontario invests in pre-apprenticeship training

Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios visited Conestoga's Fountain Street campus in Cambridge on Friday, November 8 to announce an investment of $240,840 to support the delivery of pre-apprenticeship training in the Industrial Mechanic Millwright program. The funding is part of an overall provincial government investment of $20.8 million in 91 projects across the province that will help more than 1,800 individuals prepare for jobs in the skilled trades. Read more.

Information sessions are starting in January for interested candidates:

Conestoga grads honoured at 2019 Premier's Awards

Three Conestoga alumni joined the ranks of Ontario's most distinguished college graduates on Monday, December 2, when they were named as 2019 recipients of Premier's Awards at a gala celebration held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.

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. Read more.

Engineering, technology and trades welcome new executive dean

Conestoga recently appointed Tony Thoma to the role of executive dean to the Schools of Engineering & Technology, Trades & Apprenticeship and the Institute of Food Processing Technology. The announcement was made in July following Dr. Julia Biedermann’s retirement after more than two decades at the college and nearly six years as executive dean.

A respected leader in education and heavy industry, Thoma comes to Conestoga from Niagara College where he held positions in administration and special projects focusing on engineering technology, skilled trades and applied research. According to Thoma, his decision to make a move to Conestoga stemmed from the college’s reputation as a leader in polytechnic education

"Conestoga is known as an institution for its strategic planning and foresight -- that really appealed to me,” said Thoma. “Investments in program development to satisfy long-term objectives are key to addressing the demand for career-ready gradates with the skills and knowledge to serve the workforce needs of local communities." Read more.

New Weston Family Scholars named

Twenty-five Conestoga skilled trades and apprenticeship students have been named recipients of the Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades for the 2019-2020 academic year. Since the launch of the scholarship program in 2018, Conestoga’s team of Weston Family Scholars has grown to include more than 80 across a range of construction, industrial and motive power sector programs.

Supported by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation to help increase multi-trade recruitment and address skills shortages, the scholarships are open to students in their first semester of a diploma or certificate trades program, as well as apprentices entering Level 1 in-class training, and have been structured to support students throughout the completion of their programs. Recipients receive up to $4,000 from the scholarship program — $1,000 per academic term or per level of in-class training — as well as tuition awards from Conestoga each academic year to assist with tuition costs. Read more.

Skilled trades students receive holiday surprise

Students in Conestoga's Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) program were left speechless on December 12 when they received an unexpected Christmas delivery from Freshco Retail Maintenance. Representatives from the boutique retail facilities firm dropped by the Waterloo campus to present each of the 25 students in the program with a $500 cheque to offset their living expenses. Read more.

TradeUcation welcomes school board representatives

Conestoga hosted its first TradeUcation event at the John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo on October 23 where teachers, guidance counsellors and administrators from more than 10 school boards took part in activities to gain better understanding of the skills and knowledge required in trades education and careers

Tony Thoma, executive dean to the Schools of Engineering & Technology, Trades & Apprenticeship and the Institute of Food Processing Technology, welcomed the 60 participants and provided a snapshot of the skills gap currently facing the province. Read more.

Conestoga welcomes CNC educator network

The Conestoga community welcomed the Haas Technical Education Center (HTEC) Network on October 25 for the Ontario Canada HTEC CNC Educators Conference. Hosted by Conestoga's School of Trades & Apprenticeship at the college's Woodworking Centre of Ontario, close to 100 participants engaged in professional development activities related to CNC machining. Secondary and post-secondary educators from across the province, administrators and advocates in advanced manufacturing networked, viewed live demonstrations of CNC technology and discussed best practices with both educator and industry panels. Read more.

Conestoga graduates compete in annual bricklaying competition

Three Conestoga graduates were among the province's top stone masons and tenders competing for the title of Ontario's best bricklayer on September 5. Hosted at the college's Roofing Skills and Training Centre at the John W. Tibbits campus in Waterloo, the Bricklayer 500 regional series tested skill, speed and stamina as professional masons raced against the clock to build a wall.

Lyndon Brubacher, Kalen Pavkovic and Keith Richards were among the 13 teams participating in the competition this year -- all three completed the Brick and Stone Mason (Apprenticeship) program at Conestoga. Read more.

Students win at Skills Canada competition

Conestoga students have earned five medals at the 2019 Skills Canada National Competition, held May 28 to 30 in Halifax. Representing Team Ontario, the Conestoga competitors were among more than 550 students and apprentices from across the country who competed in more than 40 skill areas representing six skilled trades and technology sectors, including: transportation, construction, manufacturing and engineering, information technology, service and employment.

In total, six Conestoga participants earned a spot on Team Ontario after winning gold at the Ontario Skills Competition earlier this month. Five of the six college participants earned medals at the national level and were presented with them during the Skills Canada closing ceremonies on May 30. Read more.

  • Gold: Mackenzie Carroll, Architectural Technology & Design
  • Silver: Karen Gallego, IT Software Solutions for Business
  • Silver: Jennifer Norman, Cabinetmaking
  • Silver: Calvin Ysing, Bricklaying
  • Bronze: Sean Brown, CNC Machining

Open Programs for January 2020

Some programs are still open for January. Please visit the college website for a complete list by campus and/or credential.