BCIT, one of B.C.’s largest post-secondary institutions, is working with the Government of Canada to remove barriers to apprenticeship completion in the piping trades by offering new programs that will allow apprentices to complete the theory portion of their technical training by distance education. This will reduce the amount of time apprentices need to be away from work or home to complete their apprenticeships.
Depending on their trade, apprentices are required to attend between 4 and 10 weeks of technical, in-school training each year. For the most part, students must attend a post-secondary institution every weekday during these periods of time. For some, this is a financial hardship, and for others it means being away from home and family to attend an institution in another location.
As part of the Government of Canada’s Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training (FIATT) pilot, BCIT is working to reduce the time required away from the workplace by offering the theory portion of a student’s technical training completely online. The pilot project will run for the first time in August for piping trades apprentices (Plumbing, Steam/Pipe Fitting and Gasfitting).
Students will attend internet sessions twice-a-week for 2.5 hours, conducted by a live, real-time instructor. In the time between the live internet sessions, students will be expected to complete a minimum of about 12 hours of self-study each week.
With the new pilot program, students will study theory online for 16 or 22 weeks. When the theory portion is completed, students will then attend the reduced two weeks of practical training and assessment at the BCIT Burnaby Campus.
“This innovative pilot project gives apprentices the flexibility to choose their own training paths. With a greater diversity of education options, BCIT is supporting apprentices to be one step closer to apprenticeship completion and being fully qualified for today’s workforce,” said Kathy Kinloch, president of BCIT.
“Apprenticeship training plays an important role in Canada’s post-secondary education system and provides Canadians with pathways to good careers. Innovative projects, like this one, help grow our economy, strengthen the middle class and help those working hard to join it,” said the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Flexibility and Innovation in Apprenticeship Technical Training (FIATT) program.