THE INTRODUCTION OF VOCATIONAL TRAINING TO INNER CITY YOUTH, NEW IMMIGRANTS AND THE MARGINALIZED - USING AN INNOVATIVE COLLABORATIVE, INTERDISCIPLINARY MODEL
Canadian Economists say that a skilled trade worker shortage will definitely affect Canada’s ability to compete on a global market in the future, which will in turn affect Canadian economic growth in the longterm. Economic trends are favouring countries and production facilities with a large pool of skilled workers. Immigration is a potential solution to the skilled tradespeople shortage and may bridge the skills gap. However, recent trends have shown that is not the case, as many immigrants face many barriers such as transferring of their credentials and other cultural, social and language barriers.
Young people are not choosing the skills trades primarily because they are seen as second, third, or simply not a desirable career option. Seventy percent of students are choosing university as an option, fifty-nine percent of students report that their parents did not recommend the skills trades. School guidance counsellors do not provide information regarding the skills trade as an option or what is involved to succeed; this lack of thorough knowledge has directly impacted the high dropout rate in Vocational training programs by students enrolled in them; the reported dropout rate is between 40% to 50%.
Camara Skills Training Network (CSTN) recognized the need for an innovative approach and model for vocational training which utilized a multi-disciplinary, collobartive model. The project collaboration was between Camara Skills Training Network (CSTN), Ryerson University and Covenant House. The program integrated experts from mechanical, electrical, automotive, and social workers. The innovation of including a social support component was deemed to be a very important part to the success of the program, as the target student population was recruited from youths from the marginalized immigrant communities who are facing many barriers to education, and who had many psycho-social issues which required the interventions of trained social workers.
The program was designed as an interactive, employing adult education strategy to engage a student population who had not been necessarily successful in conventional classroom setting or gained much from conventional teaching methods.
The following is brief description of the Pre-apprentice program
• Access to Social Workers for support and counselling with psycho-social issues
• Theory classes
• Practical training
The success of the program required the combination of the four different components.
The aim of the project was to introduce innovative ways of delivering information, educate and support the program attendees.