A pilot program to keep more skilled trades workers home, and employed, has been launched by the province and the Nova Scotia Community College. The pilot is based on a new model of skilled trades education, collaborative apprenticeship. Students, or pre-apprentices, are linked with employers early, making it easier and faster to complete apprenticeships in the trade. Program graduates will be certified and qualified skilled tradespeople ready to join Nova Scotia’s workforce. “The collaborative apprenticeship model is an example of the type of flexible, customized training we hope to see more of in the coming years,” said Education Minister Karen Casey. “We’re working very closely with employers to help them meet their workforce needs. “The automotive industry in Truro is supportive and involved in this pilot and we look forward to working with other trade sectors in the future.” The first transportation mechanical repair program class starts June 11 at NSCC’s Truro campus. It is a joint effort between the community college, the Department of Education and employers. Nineteen employers have made a multi-year commitment to the program. “I want to do my part to create good employment opportunities that keep skilled people in my community,” said Dave Goswell, product support manager for Wilson Equipment in Truro. “It is important for employers to be involved in programs like this so community members can have rewarding employment and so our industry can continue to grow.” Students will get classroom training and hands-on industry experience, then will become registered apprentices and earn a wage while completing the program. Students will then be eligible to write a qualification exam to receive a certificate of qualification in one of three trades — automotive service technician, heavy duty equipment technician or truck and transport mechanic. “This model allows us to expand trades education based on the demand and enthusiasm of communities,” said Ron Farrell, dean of trades and technology at NSCC. “We’re able to create new solutions for communities that don’t have other trades education, and those who may have specific workforce development needs.” After the pilot, Nova Scotia will explore the possibility of similar programs across the province. The Department of Education and NSCC plan to work closely with sector councils, employers and other interested partners to develop personalized apprenticeship models. It is expected that collaborative apprenticeship will produce highly trained individuals who have strong connections with employers, a commitment to lifelong learning and who support building successful trades careers in Nova Scotia. To learn more about the transportation mechanical repair program visit www.nscc.ca/OnTrack or call 1-866-679-6722.