A new program outline currently under review could add spark to electrical training in BC.
The British Columbia Construction Association has developed a new program outline to update training for Construction Electrician apprentices. The program, currently in the hands of the Industry Training Authority, is designed to address advances in technology and meet industry needs, as well as aligning provincial training standards with national standards for Red Seal, according to a recent news release from the BCCA. The BCCA said the outline was created with the help of representatives from both industry and educators and would not have been possible without their cooperation.
“The end result was achieved through the combined effort of two essential components of our apprenticeship system – industry and trainers,” the release said.
The recommendations to the ITA include BC maintaining the current standard of awarding the Certificate of Qualification after successful completion of the Interprovincial Red Seal exam, as well as supporting a standardized examination format across the province, including a test bank of items with standardized templates.
Another recommendation by the industry was that the government should provide financial support to update and maintain learning resources that ensure a province-wide standard for materials could be used by any training provider.
The Program Outline was a part of the Electrical Program Standards Project, which at the ITA’s request was managed by both the BCCA and its advisory committee on construction training, with support from the Electrical Contractors Association of BC. Other components of the EPSP included recommendations on the re-establishment of a BC Certificate of Qualification, as well as provincial standards for entry-level training.
“The EPSP provided industry with an excellent opportunity to shape the future of training that will produce qualified trade workers in every region of the province, and set standards that will hold up for the future. And industry grabbed it,” the release stated.
In order to create the program outline, the parties involved went through a multi-layered process before concluding their work. The first step was the creation of a steering committee, made up of representatives from both industry and colleges. The committee appointed a working group which was also made up of contractors and educators, and which was led by a curriculum facilitator.
The group also drafted an occupational analysis for British Columbia, as well as a program outline for the technical training of apprentices.
“At this stage it was vital to have employers define the skills and abilities they needed in the workplace, and educators assess the practicalities of the changes. So the proposed outline was put before a contractors working group for review and recommendations, and sent to the Electrical Articulation Committee for input,” the news release said.
Feedback on the proposed changes was also gathered through a public consultation process, where electricians, electrical contractors, apprentices and educators were all canvassed. The outline was published on the BCCA website along with a “stakeholder survey”, which was distributed to the electrical industry.
The news release stated there were no drastic changes in the program outline, since “the technical training already in place for electricians works well, and the I.P. success rates averaging about 85 per cent reflect that.”
Some topics, such as construction of analog meters, were deleted. None of the changes are expected to prolong the in-school training period for apprentices.