Left to right: Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman, Minister Steve Clark, Gerald Tallman of Rush Truck Centres, and Mayor Nancy Peckford at the skills training announcement.

The Kemptville Campus will be providing skilled trades training once again starting September 2021. Minister Steve Clark announced on Friday that the provincial government is providing funding for the Kemptville Campus to offer training to local secondary students in the trades of truck and coach technician, heavy duty technician, and agricultural technician.

“Ontario is facing a looming crisis. We will soon have more jobs in the skilled trades than we have people to fill them,” Minister Clark said. “That shortage is particularly acute in Eastern Ontario, something that I hear daily from employers.”

Minister Clark said Gerald Tallman of Rush Truck Centres was integral in highlighting the need for skilled trades people in North Grenville. “It was Gerald who came to me a few years ago with the idea of using the Campus to provide this training. His business was critically short of mechanics, and he told me that they still are today.”

This announcement was made possible through collaboration between the Municipality of North Grenville, the Kemptville Campus Board, other educational partners across Eastern Ontario, and all four local school boards, whose students will benefit from the availability of skilled trades training close to home. Mayor Nancy Peckford, who is the current Chair of the Kemptville Campus Board, expressed how significant this announcement is to the role the Campus will play in the future of the education and economic development sectors in the region. “We sat down with our educational partners and we signaled to them how much we wanted to support innovation and to support economic development, skills training, and health and wellness on the Campus,” she said. “And, through that collaboration, we were able to create the opportunity for the application that was successful, and that Minister Clark spoke of today. This represents a significant evolution in the role that Kemptville Campus will play in the education and economic development sectors in our region. With strong relationships – and the support of industry partners – we will once again be able to deliver much-needed skills training to our youth from Eastern Ontario right here at Kemptville Campus.”

The funding will allow the campus to offer up to 20 spaces through the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), which provides full time high school students, who are 16 or older, the opportunity to explore careers in the skilled trades. Students earn high school co-op credits in related courses, and receive valuable workplace experience before they even graduate. Training will be provided at the Campus’ Power and Equipment building, which has four classrooms and a shop built for this purpose. The program will be delivered in both English and French, with a blend of experiential learning and a digital platform that uses synchronous, asynchronous, and interactive technologies.

“Success is all about partnership and collaboration, and through leveraging the collective capacities and best practices of our partners,” said Kemptville Campus Project Manager, Patricia Rémillard. “We will create innovative programming that addresses skill gaps in the industry and prepares student apprentices to meet the demand.”

Gerald Tallman, who was present for the announcement, said that Rush Truck Centres will play a role in providing the equipment needed to run the program. As someone who has hired skilled trade graduates of the Kemptville Campus in the past, he looks forward to being able to hire graduates of this new program. “It’s giving us employees that are going to be trained to work on the equipment that we advertise, sell, and look after,” he said. “I have wanted it to happen here for a while, and it’s starting to come around very nicely.”

This training program will build on the existing adult education opportunities established by the UCDSB at the Kemptville Campus, primarily through the T.R. Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education, and address a growing, provincial need for skilled trades workers. This program will allow full-time adult students and high school students to gain experience and Level 1 training in Truck and Coach Technician, Heavy Equipment Technician, and Agricultural Equipment Technician though OYAP. The goal is that this opportunity will be expanded to Specialist High School Major programming in the future.

“This successful TDA application is an important development in the shared vision of the UCDSB and our community partners to create multiple entry points, in both official languages, for community-based learning and trade certifications,” said UCDSB Chair John McAllister. “We are pleased to celebrate what promises to be a strong, local opportunity for skill development, employment, and continuing education in the trades.”


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