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Task force looks to strengthen skilled trades education

Don Horne   


NAIT president Glenn Feltham and SAIT president and CEO David Ross will head Alberta’s 19-member task force that will provide recommendations on how to best renew and expand apprenticeship education and skilled trades opportunities.

“Over the last few years, we have seen a dual problem of rising youth unemployment and a wave of retirements in the skilled trades. We need more young Albertans to pursue careers in the skilled trades and our government’s new Skills for Jobs Task Force will work towards that goal,” says the Minister of Advanced Education, Demetrio Nicolaides. “More specifically, it will work to streamline training and credentialling, expand apprenticeship learning and work towards realizing the German model’s ‘parity of esteem’ between apprenticeship and academic learning.”

The task force will inform government on ways to:

  • Increase awareness of the value of skilled trades careers and strengthen enrolment in apprenticeship programs;
  • Raise the parity of esteem for apprenticeship education;
  • Expand the apprenticeship model of classroom education with on-the-job learning to other careers and occupations.

“Skills matter! A skilled workforce is at the very heart of competitiveness and prosperity. And outstanding careers are built on skills,” says Glenn Feltham. “The Skills for Jobs Task Force will reimagine our skills and apprenticeship model. We will focus on reforming Alberta’s skills and apprenticeship system to expand opportunities and build parity of esteem between career options, including the skilled trades.”


“The government’s ongoing support and focus on applied-education and skills development is critical for Alberta’s prosperity. This task force will play a vital role in the renewal and acceleration of our province’s skilled workforce — bringing attention to the value of applied education and the careers and opportunities within skilled trades. Our work is to prepare learners for successful careers in the future and ultimately to provide industry the talent they need to grow our province,” says David Ross.

The task force includes representatives from industry, labour, education leaders in both K-12 and post-secondary, and community agencies. It will submit a preliminary report in early 2020, followed by a full public report later in the year.

Skills for Jobs Task Force members
  • Glenn Feltham (co-chair), president, NAIT
  • David Ross (co-chair), president and CEO, SAIT
  • Ray Massey, president, Skills Canada Alberta
  • Amanda Rosychuk, senior vice-president, drainage services, EPCOR and vice-chair, Women Building Futures
  • Andy Neigel, president and CEO, CAREERS: the Next Generation
  • j’Amey Bevan, chair, Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board
  • Tony Tomkiewych, presiding officer, Provincial Apprenticeship Committee – industrial mechanic (millwright)
  • Paul Verhesen, president and CEO, Clark Builders
  • Ann Everatt, president and CEO, Northern Lakes College
  • Dave King, dean, School of Trades and Technology, Lakeland College
  • Stuart Cullum, president, Olds College
  • Jason Wright, training coordinator, Sheet Metal Workers Local 8, and acting president, Building Trades of Alberta Training Society
  • Brad Bagnall, instructor, Trades Centre of Excellence, Bowness High School
  • Laura Jo Gunter, president and CEO, Bow Valley College
  • Paul Heyens, CEO, Alberta Glass
  • Sandy Sanderson, president/owner Askiy Mat Service
  • Terry O’Flynn, president and founding partner, Prism Flow Products Inc.
  • Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, MLA, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, and chair of the Alberta Skilled Trades Caucus
  • Shane Getson, MLA, Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, and member of the Alberta Skilled Trades Caucus


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