Victoria takes wrong approach

Letter writer wants more focused on apprenticeship programs on actual job sites

First the good news. The B.C. government has found the $50 million needed to finish the Vernon Jubilee Hospital project. Now the bad news, they have given it to the colleges to upgrade their work skills training facilities. How interesting because anyone who knows anything about work skills, knows work skills are only acquired in the workplace. They cannot be taught, even in college.

Sponsored by the government, the college system has been elevated to the “Be all and end all” of work training.

The evidence suggests their contribution to Canada’s skilled worker needs is derisory, considering the amount of money lavished on them.

Let’s take a quick look at some college methods. Young people living in Vernon who want to be a vehicle technician have to travel to Kelowna, a 100-kilometre round trip.

In Vernon, there are about 15 dealerships with state-of-the-art equipment and certified technicians all capable of providing quality apprenticeship training. Similarly, the electrical students, sorry, student apprentices, practise on mock-up framing, yet there are a dozen good electrical contractors in town working on a wide variety of work situations.

Also, why do we teach so many kids how to join pieces of metal together by a process called welding

There are no jobs here, which means they have to go to Alberta for a job, and then be sent home because they have no work skills. It just does not make any sense.

At the same time, there are thousands of different work skills situations in our town, and every town, with facilities and personnel, and yet we have no organized work skills on-the-job-training that is available to all.

It is not necessary to go to college to be a skilled worker. You don’t need a diploma. The  boss will tell you all you need to know when he keeps you on and increases your wages, and you may even get to college for additional learning at his expense.

We need the real apprentices back in the workplace. We must also stop the retrograde practice of charging young people to acquire the work skills they will need to be of value to their country.

Doing the math, we would actually be better off not to charge.

Looking back, we see the government has endorsed the college system of skills training for the last 30-plus years. In that time, almost one million kids have graduated from the high school system each year. Sixty-eight per cent of that one million paid for a college course to learn work skills.

Doing a little math, that is about 20 million potential skilled workers. From leaving school, 30 years would mean they are all still working. Canada has a total population right now of about 35 million. That would suggest two-thirds of the population would have had work skills training at college. And we now have a skilled worker shortage. How is that possible? Could it be that what the mill is churning out, is of little value and not what is needed?

If any of the readers are unfortunate enough to need the services at VJH and are waiting in pain, now is the time to write and demand the college money be cancelled and reallocated to the hospital.

Any students who were advised by the government or college literature that  they would receive work skills training and never did, I think you are entitled to have your money refunded.

Roy Humphrey, Vernon