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The 2020 conference will highlight initiatives, programs and strategies that help attract and retain top talent. This requires an understanding of how to breakdown the stigma associated with skilled trades careers and engage youth, underrepresented groups, parents and educators to actively promote apprenticeship as a first-choice career path. Be among the more than 500 delegates expected to attend!


Opening Ceremony

1:30 – 4:30pm
Panel & Interactive Session

Breaking the Stigma: Promoting Apprenticeship & Careers in the Skilled Trades
Panel: Engaging Youth & Parents

Learn about initiatives to promote skilled trades careers to young people from across the country. A panel of experts will share best practices.

Networking Activity: Interview an Apprenticeship Champion & Pitch Your Campaign Idea
Participants will share ideas, network with fellow delegates from different regions and sectors and develop practical solutions to promote apprenticeship and careers in the skilled trades.

5:30 – 9:00pm
Reception & Opening Banquet


Networking Breakfast

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Leadership & Change Expert, Cheryl Cran

Never before have workplaces had so much ambiguity, uncertainty and constant change. Workers are challenged with doing more with less, learning at the speed of disruption and working with diverse situations. Cheryl Cran helps leaders and their teams to build future workplaces, today. Recognized as the #1 Future of Work influencer by Onalytica, Cheryl’s research into the future of work, technology, innovation, and generational impact driven by her “people first” philosophy, provides data and strategies to help drive business transformation.  Hear about the most recent and up to date research on the workplace and what it means for your organization. Cheryl will share tips and strategies on how to increase the attraction and retention of top talent and help you get future ready!

Welcome & Update from CAF-FCA

Plenary Session
Unveiling the National Strategy for Supporting Women in Trades

Speakers: National Task Force Leadership Team: Joannn Greeley RSE, Office to Advance Women Apprentices, Nour Hachem-Fawaz, Build-A-Dream; Lisa Stevens, BC Construction Association; Melissa Young, NETCO

In 2018, CAF-FCA hosted the first-ever national conference dedicated to female participation in the skilled trades. In 2019, the second Supporting Women in Trades Conference was held in Vancouver. In total, more than 600 delegates gathered at the events to share ideas and engage in a conversation on how to remove the barriers women encounter pursuing careers in which they are traditionally under-represented. A Road Map to Supporting Women in Trades was developed in 2018 from results of the inaugural event and the subsequent 2019 conference culminated in a CAF-FCA commitment to lead the development of a national strategy.

The task force is comprised of 60 representatives from CAF-FCA member organizations and include apprentices, tradeswomen, representatives from women’s organizations, labour groups, employers, educators and jurisdictional apprenticeship authorities.  They have been working diligently to inform this strategy and establish a national target to increase participation and retention of females in skilled trades careers.

CAF-FCA is excited to introduce The National Strategy for Supporting Women in Trades at the 2020 National Apprenticeship Conference. With the country needing thousands of new trade professionals to fill the existing skilled trades gap, an informative strategy that addresses policy and structure is imperative.

Networking Break

11:00am – 12:30pm
Concurrent A Sessions: Apprentice Training Partnerships

A1. Pre-Apprenticeship in Canada
Canadian Apprenticeship Forum; SaskPolytech; Sheridan College
Learn about pre-apprenticeship initiatives from across the country, including highlights from CAF-FCA’s nation-wide consultations and Results Measurement Framework. Presenters from Conestoga College, SaskPolytech and Sheridan College will share information, best practices and lessons learned from their research and initiatives and encourage participants to evaluate the impact of pre-apprenticeship programs in Canada.

A2. Indigenous Alternate Pathway to Electrical Careers
ACCESS; Electrical Joint Training Committee; SkillPlan
The Indigenous Alternate Pathway to Electrical Careers is a partnership of three prominent organizations in BC; the Electrical Joint Training Committee, SkillPlan, and ACCESS. The program was developed to provide essential skills upgrading, electrical foundation training, and work practicums to Indigenous trainees. Learn what has made this program a success with over 80% maintaining employment and entering into first year apprenticeships upon completion.

A3. Leveraging Procurement for a Skilled & Inclusive Workforce
Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades; Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council; Toronto Workforce Innovation Group
Infrastructure projects provide a unique opportunity for government to optimize procurement and further policy. support workforce development and maximize economic, environmental and social returnsThis session will look at best practices for social procurement, examples of Community Benefit Agreement policies and how this approach can help address challenges to labour development while contributing to a healthier and more inclusive workforce.

A4. Apprenticeship Community Hub
Mohawk College
Mohawk College is leading the evolution of Ontario’s Apprenticeship Strategy through the creation of an integral support network serving the unique needs of industry, employers and apprentices in a dedicated physical space -“The Apprenticeship Community Hub.” With a focus on the modernization of skilled trades, this initiative’s leadership will keep apprentices in movement to strengthen Ontario’s economy and promote skilled trades as a viable career option.

A5. The Domino Effect of Collaboration & Apprenticeship
Government of Alberta
Learn about Alberta’s collaborative industry network and how involving the right people at the right places can elevate and evolve the apprenticeship system.  By working with industry, Alberta is able to ensure its apprenticeship programs remain innovative, agile, and responsive to Alberta’s labour market. But that’s only part of the equation…By involving industry in shaping classroom learning, trades professionals are introduced to other key stakeholders in the apprenticeship system. This leads to greater engagement, the growth of system advocates, and greater awareness and engagement of youth and underrepresented groups.

12:30pm Lunch

SAIT Technical Tour

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) will host a tour of its apprenticeship training facilities. For those delegates who prefer learning by doing, this is a great opportunity to explore a prominent Alberta institution known for excellence in skilled trades education. SAIT is renowned for providing a first-class training in more than 30 trades. Ground transportation and a boxed lunch is provided. The tour will end with a stop at The Tastemarket, SAIT’s innovative learning environment for future culinary entrepreneurs.  Check out the draft agenda here.

Plenary Session
Panel: Engaging Indigenous Apprentices

Build Together Saskatachewan; Congress of Aboriginal Peoples; Gabriel Dumont Institute; Industry Training Authority of BC; Seven Generations Institute
Get practical ideas from successful initiatives and programs from across Canada.  Learn how the apprenticeship community as a whole can help support and create more opportunities for Indigenous people interested in apprenticeship and skilled trades careers.

2:30pm Networking Break

Concurrent B Sessions: Technology & Flexible Learning Options

B1. 3D Plumbing
This presentation will explain the use of 3D piping design via Google Sketchup and YouTube videos for our plumbing curriculum currently instructed for our 4th yr. Plumbing/Gasfitting apprentices.   Explore handouts, digital 3D copies, YouTube links to designs and the use of social media: SAIT 4th year Plumber Gasfitter Apprentice Facebook page and D2L content. 

B2. The Future of Learning is Digital
Athabasca University
Imagine a virtual and augmented reality environment powered by Augmented Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) to create learning experiences previously thought to be impossible in trades professions. Current trades learning often requires large scale physical labs and equipment. The simulators currently being adopted in some programs are just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in what is possible. This presentation will outline the future of learning environments where apprentices can learn anywhere in a ‘just-in-time’ format in manageable chunks that are ‘just-enough’ and are customized ‘just-for-them.’

B3. Innovative Approach & Collaborative Approach to Block Release
Vancouver Island University
The Hairstylist Level 2 Pilot, sponsored by the Industry Training Authority, was developed and delivered collaboratively by selected post-secondary institutions in BC. The 2019 pilot attracted 20 apprentices province wide, allowing students to study online and complete assigned tasks at their convenience. Instructors successfully combined digital learner centered pedagogies with technology to create authentic assignments that embedded technical training into apprentices’ daily practices.

B4. Future of Work: Emerging Skills
Canadian Apprenticeship Forum; Conference Board of Canada 
This interactive workshop will convene industry leaders, researchers, and policymakers to discuss the emerging skills that tradespeople will require to adapt to the future of work. In response to several future work challenges — from Industry 4.0 to the transition to low-carbon economies — tradespeople will require a range of new skill sets. In this participatory workshop, participants will discuss the impact of future work trends on skills requirements in the trades.

B5. Innovative Apprenticeship Training Solutions in New Brunswick
New Brunswick Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour
Highly skilled tradespersons come from many backgrounds, and learning disabilities, essential skills gaps, or language barriers can prevent top talent from entering or remaining in the skilled trades workforce. To address these obstacles, New Brunswick has become a leader in innovative solutions to meet training needs. Canadian trade-contextualized language and technical training for newcomers with skilled trades backgrounds, and customized learning plans for trade apprentices with learning disabilities or essential skills gaps, have enabled many talented individuals to remain in, or transition to, the workforce. The success of these programs has led to federal funding to expand both initiatives to other jurisdictions across Canada.

Concurrent C Sessions: Apprentice Well-Being & Disability Inclusion

C1. Learning Strategies for the Red Seal Exam
Algonquin College
This session will look at strategic methods that apprentices can use to increase their chance of success when writing the Red Seal licensing exam. A discussion of the benefits of addressing the exam process, from preparing to writing, will allow delegates to take strategic exam writing tools back to their apprentice population.

C2. Strategies for Diversity & Inclusion
The Schools of Construction and Transportation at SaskPolytech are using innovative methods to engage underrepresented groups in the trades. With the primary goal of  promoting apprenticeship as a preferred career in Saskatchewan, the strategy is comprehensive and provides support from Skills Enhancement Training through to Applied Certificates. The initiative is a product of partnership with industry, government, and community based organizations which has served over 200 individuals to date. Sask Polytechnic will share the success of the strategies initiated to remove barriers to entering trades training for females, indigenous people, new comers, LGBTQ+, and those living with a disability.

C3. Assessing & Developing Social and Emotional Skills with Intent
Success in the workplace will increasingly require strong social and emotional skills, but few tools exist to let programmers treat these skills as program outcomes. The presentation will justify this statement and look at how Futureworx achieves this using the Employability Skills Assessment Tool process. Participants will learn about program design for behavioural skill development, how to mange subjectivity, and how to use ESAT outputs to promote self awareness and behavioural adaptability in their apprentices. Participants will have a chance to use ESAT outputs and participate in discussion about the challenges of addressing social and emotional skills as learning outcomes.

C4. Trades Student Health & Wellness 411
Thompson Rivers University (TRU)
The National College Health Assessment II demonstrated that TRU students experience high levels of stress, anxiety and other mental health concerns that have a negative impact on their academic work. Larger-scale research has shown men working in the trades often experience poorer health outcomes and are disproportionately impacted by the current opioid epidemic. This presentation shares perception data from 81 trades students collected immediately, and again 8 weeks after they completed a one-day wellness workshop. The workshop covered four facets of wellness: personality, sexualized violence prevention and response, exam anxiety and substance use/ naloxone training.

C5. Supporting the Next Generation of Trades Professionals
Loyalist College
In 2013, Loyalist College and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation announced a three-year pilot project to provide financial support for 60 students entering skilled trades programs. The mission of the program was to build awareness and success in this valuable and in-demand sector.  Expanding on the success of the pilot, the Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades has since engaged 220+ students and was recently shared with colleges across Canada. Join us during this interactive presentation to learn about successes, challenges and opportunities available to support the next generation of skilled professionals, and how you can be a part of the next strategy.
5:30 – 7:30pm
CAF-FCA Member's Reception - The Bank & Baron Pub
In appreciation and celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, members are invited to attend an evening reception just steps from the conference venue. 


Networking Breakfast

9:00am Plenary Session
Panel: Apprenticeship Trends & Initiatives

Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA)
The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) is responsible for the Red Seal Program, which develops common inter-provincial standards and examinations. Apprenticeship authorities across Canada are dealing with many of the same key trends and policy issues, though their responses must cater to regional needs and expectations.  During this armchair discussion, Directors of Apprenticeship will discuss efforts underway in various parts of the country.

National Excellence in Apprenticeship Awards

CAF-FCA will present inaugural awards honouring Canada’s Top Apprentice Employer and Inclusivity Champion.

Networking Break

10:30am – 12:00pm
Concurrent D Sessions: Apprentice Attraction & Support Strategies

D1. The Indigenous YouthBuild Story
YouthBuild Canada
Learn how Indigenous YouthBuild Canada has impacted Manitoba communities, empowering Indigenous students to engage in the skilled trades in a way that changes their own lives and those of their entire community. A social enterprise, supporting green building initiatives has led YouthBuild to partner to create a unique curriculum that suits the needs of the learner and contributes to the community and environment.

D2. Increasing Labour Market Participation for Under-Represented Groups through Collaboration
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency; Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia
Learn about Nova Scotia’s Work-based Practical Assessment Project. Newcomers with trades experience are matched with an employer for 12-weeks and receive a work-based practical assessment. Background, goals and objectives of the project will be shared in addition to lessons learned and positive impacts for participants.

D3. Attracting & Retaining Apprentices from Under-Represented Populations
CAREERS: The Next Generation; Skills Canada Alberta; Women Building Futures
Women Building Futures, Skills Canada Alberta and CAREERS: The Next Generation have all been engaged by the Alberta Government to significantly increase attraction and exploration of youth and women in the career opportunities in the trades and technologies over the next few years. Part of this initiative is to change the stigma and biases surrounding professional careers in the trades, reach for parity of esteem with other post-secondary career options and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse industry. Key to success in achieving growth targets and outcomes is the commitment of WBF, Skills and CAREERS to create a partnership thus ensuring each organizations strengths are maximized, duplication is avoided and programs are delivered efficiently.

D4. Essential Skills for the Trades: Promising Practices from Nunavut
Frontier College
Even for the most talented people working in the trades, challenges related to literacy, math and study skills can create barriers to navigating the apprenticeship and trades certification process. Since 2017, Frontier College has partnered with the Government of Nunavut to offer individualized and small group tutoring for primarily Inuit learners seeking to challenge the territorial Trades Entrance Exam and enroll in apprenticeship training. The success of this program model lies in its flexible, strengths-based approach, and a focus on removing geographic, financial and time-related barriers. Program results, lessons learned, and promising practices will be shared.

D5. Innovative Approaches to Direct Apprenticeship for Under-represented Groups with Barriers
National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO)
NETCO partner organizations have been successful in launching new and innovative entry programs for the electrical trades for under-represented groups through two federal programs; the Union Training and Innovation Program and the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program. NETCO will highlight these collaborative approaches and share initial learnings from these programs. Target groups are women, Indigenous people, youth and newcomers. These programs are designed where participants are dispatched to a union employer upon successful completion in the training portion of the program. The overall objective is to improve efficiency and efficacy of pre-apprenticeship training.

Networking Lunch

1:00pm – 2:00pm
Concurrent E Sessions: Youth Entry to Apprenticeship & Skilled Trades Careers

E1. Mobile Trades Experience & Trades Boot Camp for Families
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council (NSCSC); Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency (NSAA)
The Mobile Constrctuction Experience is NSCSC’s interactive travelling showcase of ICI construction trades. This one-of-a-kind 53’ trailer travels to rural junior high schools and simulates a “construction zone”.  Visitors meet professionals from each occupation, participate in hands-on activities and use augmented and virtual reality to explore the sector. As part of Nova Scotia’s poverty reduction strategy, the “boot camps” were hosted at the NSCSC’s Trades Exhibition Hall for low-income families with a focus on youth in grades 3-6. Hear from the NSCSC and the NSAA on the challenges and results.

E2. Understanding Student Perceptions of Trades in Canada
Centre for Ocean Ventures & Entrepreneurship (COVE)
This presentation will highlight key results and insights from the 2019 Student Intentions and Perceptions study which surveyed over 4000 youth (grades 6-12) across Nova Scotia. This study tapped into the perceptions, bias, stigma, and attitudes that relate to skilled trades careers. A detailed analysis helps to uncover how those biases form and perpetuate, provides a summary of strategies and initiatives currently underway to change the narrative of how youth, parents and teachers talk about these roles, and how we can deliver more awareness-building programs to expose a broader range of youth to the skilled trades of today.

E3. BC's Youth Explore Trades Program
Industry Training Authority of BC
BC saw students enrolling in pre-apprenticeship programs with no previous experience in the trades. Many were surprised to learn that the trades weren’t a good fit for them. In 2016, BC introduced the Youth Explore Trades Program which provides students a hands-on experience in at least 3 trades. The programs are a high-school credit course and are delivered by both high-schools and the post-secondary training providers. Over the past 3 years the program has grown from 800 students to over 4,000. Many students are transitioning directly into apprenticeships or pre-apprenticeship programs. This workshop will outline the strategy, funding model, implementation process, data collection, teacher training, barriers and also share many success stories.

E4. Youth Opportunities in Apprenticeship
Unifor Skilled Trades Council
Learn about Unifor’s partnership with the Pathways to Education Program that encourages Grade 9 -12, at-risk youth to consider apprenticeship. Outreach informs youth and their families on the advantages of the apprenticeship pathway and provides resume preparation techniques and effective job-seeking strategies to help them to potential employers. An interactive discussion will include a review of the data which informs the strategy and program results from promoting apprenticeship as a viable education.

E5. Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship Program
Saskatchewan Apprenticeship & Trade Certification Commission
The Saskatchewan Youth Apprenticeship (SYA) Program, supported by additional funding from Employment and Social Development Canada, has experienced significant growth over the past year. Through additional staff resources; a conference aimed at educators; and additional marketing and advertising; student participation grew 30 per cent in 2018-19 over 2017-18. The presentation will provide: background on the SYA program, including its current status and how we know it’s effective, an overview of the marketing and other initiatives we’ve undertaken with the support of additional funding and the results we’ve seen as a result of these additional resources.

2:15pm Plenary Session
Panel – Alberta Apprenticeship Initiatives

Alberta Apprenticeship & Industry Training; Bow Valley College; Ironworkers Local 725; MERIT Contractors; SAIT
Alberta’s apprenticeship and industry training system is driven by a partnership between industry and government. Apprentices, trainers, employers and government work together to create a training system that is industry-focused, resulting in highly skilled tradespeople. A panel of diverse apprenticeship stakeholders will share information about the programs and initiatives that contribute to the development of Alberta’s internationally competitive workforce.

3:15 pm
Closing Remarks

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