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Hayes commits to support college and skilled trades training

Friday, February 22, 2013   by: Darren Taylor

“I will advocate on your behalf as long as I am your Member of Parliament.”

That from Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes, who joined the Sault College Board of Governors at their regular monthly meeting Thursday.
Sault College President Dr. Ron Common pointed out the postsecondary institution’s value to the community and presented Hayes with a list of requests, particularly in regards to a shortage of skilled trades workers in Sault Ste. Marie.
Common urged the Conservative MP to prod his federal government colleagues to assist Sault College by providing federal funding and a strategy to add more skilled trades students to the College and extra space in which to train them.      
Common stated “one of the things we would suggest your government consider is reducing wait lists for high-demand college programs…many of our programs are over-subscribed and are constrained only by our physical capacity to be able to expand them.”
Common said Sault College would definitely be interested in benefiting from another round of stimulus funding from Ottawa for new infrastructure dedicated to skilled trades instruction space, but Hayes told reporters after Thursday’s meeting more stimulus funding is not likely to be a part of the federal government’s next budget, expected in March or April.
To attract more people into studying skilled trades, Common said “there’s a need for a whole promotional campaign to enhance perceptions of jobs in skilled trades and technology, and we think it should be a national promotion, a multi-year campaign to promote trades and technology.”
Board member Jim Rennie told Hayes there are 600 trades people and engineers nearing retirement at Essar Steel Algoma, where he serves as Vice President, Human Resources.
“I don’t think the city is going to generate enough people to fill the needs of industries in the city…speaking from an Essar perspective, we have a very hard challenge getting people from Southern Ontario to relocate in the North, we get bypassed.”
“We need to go through Sault College to develop the skills that are needed,” Rennie continued.
“My biggest fear is we’re not in a position to replace at Essar, Tenaris, Flakeboard.  This community isn’t producing (skilled trades people) and our ability to recruit from outside this community is limited.  We have to rely on foreign-trained workers.”
Rennie emphasized that a local solution needs to be found.
“We need to get the right people around the table,” Rennie stated.
Hayes said he would take all concerns raised at Thursday’s Board meeting and present them to Cabinet, and stated “you’re going to see more of a focus on Northern Ontario by this government.”
He also said it was time for a roundtable discussion to address the skilled trades issue at a local level.
Speaking to after the meeting, Hayes suggested there was a stigma at one time about trades, with people opting for university education instead.
“How do we get rid of that stigma…we need to set up a roundtable.”
“As a government,” Hayes continued, “we do have tax credits for apprenticeship programs, but I think the message has to get out there that there are a lot of jobs available in skilled trades.”
“We need to work collectively, Minister Orazietti and myself and some of our folks need to get together and have a look at this.”
“Roundtable meetings tend to produce pretty good results because they are think tanks. You get people together and you come up with a direction that says ‘the federal government should do this, the province should do that,’ and you come up with a marketing strategy.”
Hayes said he hopes the next federal budget will address concerns regarding the need for more training opportunities for those interested in studying skilled trades.
Sault College’s Dean of Environment, Technology and Business Colin Kirkwood asked Hayes to look into federal government support for the school’s next major project, called IE2 (Institute for Energy and Environment).
Kirkwood said the College envisions a 100,000 square foot building dedicated to IE2, which would involve instruction in all subject areas involving energy and environmental studies, ideally in partnership with private sector companies who would like to take part in the programming by locating at the College itself and have students work in the facility on projects that are of interest to those private sector companies.
Those areas, Kirkwood said “would include power generation and transmission, smart grid, biofuels, biomaterials, environmental impact, forestry management, policy development and law, anything related to energy and environment issues.”
Kirkwood said the IE2 project has now developed into a conceptual plan, the next step being “to gain private sector support and participation.”
“We hope for support from municipal, provincial and federal governments as well,” Kirkwood told Hayes.
Hayes said “we (the federal government) recognize the energy and environment sector. I’m hoping the government will get involved more in education with more than just stimulus funding.”
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shju 2/22/2013 11:41:10 AM Report

I find this story rather disturbing. I am a skilled trades person here in ssm and the college has nothing to do with the amount of trades people in society. The ministry tells the trades person when they can enter each block of schooling and the college does so each time. What I would like to see is the money given to the college being spent on better equipment. The electrical program there is one of the best if not the best. The teachers are top notch but the equipment is lacking. Also business's in town are the ones who hire an apprentice and no one is doing that and if they are its on such a small scale. Giving money to the college or giving these grants to apprentices does nothing to increase the number of tradespeople. The government needs to give business's some form of a kick back for hiring apprentices. There are lots of young people that would love to get an apprenticeship but cant because no one is hiring. What good is the college having all this money for apprenticeships when there aren't any students to attend. You don't stimulate the economy by giving money away to the end of the chain, you give it to the top with a set of rules so it trickles down. Giving money to the end of the chain gives false hope for the short term and looks good on election day. Giving it to the top will be long term so a generation may survive.
shju 2/22/2013 11:48:59 AM Report

Oh and on having a round table to discuss how to get rid of the stigma about being a trades person is wasting valuable money that could be put into an apprenticeship program. Put an add in the paper looking for electrical or mechanical apprentices and you will see that people want to work just no one is hiring. There is no need to spend money on the why part. You get paid already to know this, that's your job. Simple fix hire people. Quit living in the stone ages. Quit thinking and debating so much and act.
CdnSweetie 2/22/2013 12:42:58 PM Report

My son graduates this year from Sault College as a Millwright from the Mechanical Engineering course. He has applied to many jobs here in the Sault and nobody will hire him because he does not have experience. Well in order to get the experience he needs to get hired. The government needs to help companies hire apprentices. He will gladly work here as an apprentice working as a Millwright if only someone will hire him. Like they say go to school for a trade you will get a job easy, well he did that for 2 years and now nobody in Sault Ste Marie will hire kids graduating from College cause they don't have experience, they would rather hire retired employess from Essar work in Essar under a certain company because they are retireees with experience. Come on give the young people a chance in this city to get their careers going. Hire a graduate under an apprentice and you will have a good worker for a long time to come.
RET 2/22/2013 1:56:28 PM Report

I am a red seal tradesman at essar who has been displaced to another department because of retirees coming back and taking jobs.I am one of many this has happened to.Shame on you Jim Rennie.
ataitp 2/22/2013 8:45:53 PM Report

I think Essar should look at what they actually have, qualified and experienced trades people working in the plant, just not in trades jobs. The sad fact is you're only a number and nothing more, having a trade ticket or trade experience does not guarantee you a trade job within the plant. They would rather bring back retirees through contract
funkywalker 2/23/2013 7:04:19 AM Report

I too am a red seal trades person, I currently am employed by a contractor. A couple of you have hit it right on the head, the problem is that Essar retirees think it's o.k. to take a job from a younger person (who still has children at home and a mortgage) so that they can pad their pockets and buy themselves a new quad, or vacation. They tell contractors that they can give them an inside edge while working in Essar because of their contacts, never works that way. When it's time to go, take your tools out of the mill, put them in the garage and go to Florida, don't take money from those who need it.
RET 2/23/2013 11:10:42 AM Report

Essar is using a non union company for its new construction and maintennance but that being said most apprenticeships are with union companies.When signed up you are sponsered by that local 786 508 1425 ibew or carpenters local Essar chooses to go with retireies non union therefore defeating the governments so called action plan.Essar steel should be starting up apprentiship programs now to balance for the future.The fact of the matter is Essar and Tenaris both should use the huge profits for training to be sustainable in the future not just richer in the present. Invest in the young people right here in the sault. The government of canada woud gladly assist with apprentiship programs for trades.
Ricatoni 2/23/2013 11:38:53 AM Report

This is all a political game.Bryan Hayes gives money to the college .???guess what its are money not his!!!!!!he is simply giving back a pitence of what the feds are taking from us....Political photo- op for his ego thats all this is its a joke!!!! 10% unemployment rate in the SOO highest in Ontario.This is what he should be doing something about not taking pictures of himself giving our money to the college.Politicians are all the same its all about them......this city is slowly going under .No doctors, no jobs,high unemployment rate,shitty city services due to cutbacks,I do not for see things getting any better here for anyone especially the youth.....You may as well all get the hell out of this dead end city before you to end up a statistic........Politicians have pretty much ruined this city,province and country.they should all be so proud of what they havnt done....hell why dont you all go take a picture of yourselves and put it in the news.....Pathetic politicians.The best part is they continue to pat themselves on the back telling each other what a great job they are doing LMAO!!!!!! meanwhile look at the reality.....nothing significant has been done in this city since ??????well since the casino and that my friends was and still is a tent..........LOL....So were are the jobs Bryan??? people have spoken but you have no answers there are no jobs in the trades or any other sector for that matter. So were are your priorties???? in Ottawa obviously????? Pathetic politicians...thats about all I can say about you and your useless political steal our money spend it like its yours then have no accountability to any one .Politicians are the lowest slithering scum bags of the earth!!!!!!! Bryan you and our goverment should be so proud of how you have ruined the lifes of so many Canadians.....So were is the new customs building you and harpo promised just another political line....LIARS!!!!!!!!!
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