The need for a highly skilled workforce has long been identified as a key requirement for industry to remain competitive and with challenges such as an aging population - finding qualified, well-trained candidates is an ever growing difficulty. Apprenticeships offer companies a potential solution for that challenge as an opportunity to recruit and develop interested candidates in a specific skilled trade.
Apprenticeship provides opportunities for students to "learn while they earn" - combining in-class sessions (20%) and on-the-job training (80%). According to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, there are 157 skilled occupations categorized under the Motive Power, Industrial, Construction and Service Sectors. Two out of five jobs will be in the skilled trades.
The Process Operator, Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program started in 2007. Our Host, Kellogg's Canada in Belleville, together with Loyalist College and other key stakeholders, was instrumental in helping design the program from an industry perspective. Kellogg's Canada's first registered Apprentice started in October of 2007 and today 100% of their production operators and leaders have taken the program. They now have 72 registered Apprentices out of 90 employees and are currently the farthest along on the Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program through Loyalist College.
The Team at Kellogg's Canada will tell you that the value and benefit has been significant not only for the Apprentices themselves but for the company at large as well. The Operator engagement and skill level has allowed their team members to perform and function at an accelerated pace - especially when related to Food Safety initiatives. Operators have taken charge and ownership of the line. The Process Operator, Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program is about getting people involved and ensuring that work is conducted safely.
It was agreed that it is very important to have a working knowledge of the industry as it is certainly very different being a Process Operator in today's manufacturing world.
Key to building a good program are solid relationships with educational partners and Kellogg's Canada found Loyalist College to be an excellent partner - very flexible, agile and easy to work with - they are one of three approved Colleges to run this program. The MTCU has also been very responsive (ie. holding regular employee information sessions).
Food Processor Operator: Monitors, operates, adjusts and maintains food processing units and equipment.
Process Operator, Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program Outline:
Food Safety and Security - 81 hours
Environmental - 6 Hours
Electrical and Instrumentation - 96 Hours
Mechanical Skills - 39 Hours
Communication and Computer Skills - 18 Hours
Continuous Quality Improvement - 60 Hours
All three levels of this Program are available in class and/or online.
A highlight for Members present was to hear from two of the Kellogg's Apprentices who shared their own experiences and thoughts with respect to the Processor Operator, Food Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program. They reviewed the program in detail and both of them would highly recommend it to anyone interested. Some of their thoughts are noted below:
* In class facilitator helps with real-life experiences as learning examples
* Utilization of case work and web site exploration such as the CFIA and Maple Leaf Foods
* Like a cornflake a "reputation is a fragile thing" and the subsequent impact loss of reputation can have on business
* The far-reaching impact of good product information, of customer awareness, of food reviews and of feedback
* Value and appreciation of training at work - have been able to participate and complete a variety of tasks while working - such as: security audits, personal safety, food safety, record and document control, etc.
* Consistency in training has been great
* Ability to use acronyms and speak the jargon - so if a piece of equipment needs to be repaired - they can speak to it in technical language
Kellogg's believes it is imperative to invest in your employees, make them feel part of the company... Employees are your most valuable resource.
We were also pleased to have John O'Rourke, Director, Skills Programming Department from Loyalist College and Bonnie Tincknell, Employment and Training Consultant from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities present to share information on the Program and it was an excellent opportunity to hear of other Apprenticeship Programs as well.
Loyalist College has 150 Apprentices involved in the training. In keeping with their ability to be responsive and flexible as mentioned above, they recognize that people are learning at different levels and in different ways and that also varying shifts can pose a challenge. So they work very closely with the companies and students and provide assistance if needed for training, extra-help or timing. The College also has an Avatar in the factory that helps reinforce previous components of the program.
Advantages of Investing in Apprenticeships:
* Developed by Industry
* Safety training
* Consistent standards
* Investing in your workers
* Local training - different formats
* More efficient workforce
* Shared with Ministry
* Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit
* Apprentices can qualify for a Tax Credit
* Prevention of one public confidence incident is priceless
* 157 Skilled Trades in Ontario in four trade sectors: Industrial/Manufacturing; Motive Power; Services; and Construction
* The model of learning allows for 90% under the direct guidance of a qualified person and 10% in school
* The program can take two to five years to complete
* There is a Training Agreement between the Employer/Sponsor and the Student
* Exams can be held at the local office
* Applications fall in to two categories - compulsory/restricted and voluntary (does not have to be registered)
* $40 registration fee
* Minimum requirement is Grade 12
Training an Apprentice:
* Capacity to train
* Stipulate ration
* Provide equipment etc.
* Provide Apprentice time
Benefits to Apprentice:
* Earn and learn
* Skills to build on
* Latest technology
* Financial incentives
For detailed information on the Apprenticeship Program - please refer to the following guide which can be accessed through the web as outlined below:
"Apprenticeship Training in Ontario - A Guide for Employers and Sponsors", Ministry of Colleges and Universities and Employment Ontario, June 2010 (http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/publications/apprentice_train_guide.pdf)
Without a doubt - Apprenticeships are certainly an opportunity to explore!!
Special thanks to our Host Kellogg's Canada in Belleville for sharing their experiences, and to Loyalist College and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for joining us in this discussion!
Have a great day!