Equipping youth with skills for the trades

The Construction Association of PEI (CAPEI) is a non-profit industry association that works with over 260 construction companies across the province, providing advocacy, mentorship and training to workers in the construction industry.

For over 30 years, its Youth in Trade program has been helping youth get into the trades. The program, which was recently included as an honorable mention from the Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award, is aimed at youth aged 16 to 30 who face barriers to employment and are seeking to explore a career in the trades.

During the program, students get eight weeks of paid in-class employability and safety training, followed by on-the-job training in four core trades – carpentry, electrical, plumbing and welding – to give them a taste of each trade to help them identify what might be of interest to them.

As part of the in-class training, CAPEI has leveraged workshops from ABC Life Literacy Canada’s UP Skills for Work employability and life skills program, which offers ready-to-run workshops on 16 different topics such as attitude, teamwork, time management and adaptability.

CAPEI chooses topics based on the needs of the class, and have run workshops on the topics of teamwork, accountability, problem solving and attitude. By booking UP Skills for Work workshops, they receive free workbooks and resources that can be integrated to their overall program, making it an easy way for CAPEI to integrate soft skills training without having to create course materials themselves.

UP Skills for Work is very easy to deliver, and the information and objective is clear from the outset as to what the participants will get from the training,” says Janet O’Donnell, Programs Director at CAPEI. “These soft skills are critical for the participants to be job-ready in their chosen trade and or career choice. An employer can teach technical aspects of a job, but every employer wants that model employee who demonstrates teamwork and accountability.”

In addition to in-class training, the program offers hands-on experience at its state-of-the-art training centre. There are Red Seal tradespeople on staff to share their expertise, and youth can put their soft and technical skills to work in the community by helping to build houses through Habitat for Humanity or a She Shed build for the QEH Foundation fundraising project.

After the classroom component is completed, CAPEI sets the participants up with an employer for an interview and 14-week paid job placement, with a wage subsidy for the employer. With a combination of the UP Skills for Work lesson plans, practice of technical skills through hands on projects, and work experience, the success rate of the participants’ maintaining employment is over 80%.

To learn more about UP Skills for Work and how you can integrate the resources into your programming, or to run a workshop, visit upskillsforwork.ca.

To learn more about the Youth in Trades program, visit capei.ca.