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Accelerated training courses in construction: between hope and frustration

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The accelerated training in tinsmithing started as planned on January 15 at the CFP du Grand-Fjord in Saguenay , but other cohorts have been delayed.

  • Sébastien Desrosiers (View profile)Sébastien Desrosiers

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The training courses launched by the Legault government to counter the labor shortage in the construction field are generating unexpected enthusiasm on a scale of Quebec. However, some denounce a hasty and inadequate measure.

At the Professional Training Center (CFP) of Grand-Fjord in Saguenay, the success is resounding.

The tinsmith program there has been rather moribund in recent years. Enrollments for the Diploma of Professional Studies (DEP) fell so much that the course was canceled last session.

We had a solid team who just asked for that, to have students, explains director Dominic Boily. We continually had calls from employers saying, “Listen, do you have any labor? We need labor.

Then, the day after the government's announcement in October, the candidates are set to rain. While Quebec wanted to train 4,000 to 5,000 construction workers, nearly 47,000 applications for admission were submitted across Quebec.

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The CFP du Grand-Fjord alone received almost 200 registrations. Of this number, 22 students were selected to take part in the accelerated training in tinsmithing, namely the attestation of professional studies (AEP), while 22 others joined the DEP program.

We started from 0 to 200 requests. […] It was practically a revelation.

A quote from Dominic Boily, director of the Grand-Fjord Professional Training Center

The first of them started classes the week of January 15 and welcomed us into their workshop.

Among the new apprentice tinsmiths, several saw this training as a chance to reorient themselves.

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Ahmed Ben Othmane dreamed of changing careers, but he didn't have the means until now.

One evening, I was browsing social media and I saw a post [about accelerated training], he says. I discussed it with my wife. I said, "I'm interested, I like crafts. Why not get involved in changing my life and improving my situation?"

A little further on, Sébastien Lampron is busy cutting metal sheets. Until then, he was a sergeant in the Canadian Armed Forces.

When you start in the Forces, you start on the floor repairing planes, he explains. The higher you go in rank, the less you do. Then I missed that a lot.

So when I finished my shift, I said to myself: "I have to find something else thing,” he continues. And this training appeared.

These students receive a salary of $750 per week from Quebec to follow the training, without which many of them would not be here.

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Marc-André Tremblay (center) and Sébastien Lampron (right) are both enjoying a beneficial career change.

When you have a house and everything that comes with it, dog, cat, children, car, all thekit, it becomes hard to take a two-year unpaid training, notes Marc-André Tremblay, previously an audiovisual technician in a secondary school.

I didn't like it pantoute, he said before bursting out laughing.

Instead of the DEP program of approximately twelve months, these students will complete the AEP after four to six months.

It's distorting the initial training we had in the construction industry, deplores Éric Boisjoly, general director of the FTQ-Construction, a union which represents around 90,000 workers. We have a government which has decided, on the back of the labor shortage, […] to tackle professional training.

According to him, it would have been preferable to focus on work-study alternation.

Quebec has instead decided to launch these quick, paid training courses to train personnel in five trades where the needs are glaring: tinsmith, carpenter-joiner, mechanical excavator operator, heavy equipment operator and refrigeration engineer.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Resolutions from the Quebec Construction Commission said that the profession of refrigeration engineer is so dangerous, with gas and electricity, we should not even provide accelerated training in this profession, argues Éric Boisjoly. The government has decided to move forward anyway.

Several speakers, however, insist that the aspects affecting health and safety at work have not been sacrificed. This is the case of Danny Ratthé, teacher at the CFP du Grand-Fjord, who developed the training in tinsmithing.

Mr. Legault requested an AEP for the construction of new buildings: hospitals, housing, schools, he lists. So we wanted to respond to this need for labor. We have removed the part of the training dedicated to renovation […] and the manufacturing part.

The tinsmiths trained at this location will be able for example install ventilation ducts, metal wall cladding or a metal roof.

They will be ready to work safely, insists Danny Ratthé.

Although& #x27;she salutes the success stories, such as in the tinsmithing programs which were no longer able to attract students, the director of the Observatoire de la formation professionelle du Québec, Chantale Beaucher, is rather critical of this offensive under construction.

The crash courses took a lot of people by surprise, she says. It was much too fast.

Between the announcement of the Legault government and the planned start of classes, most establishments barely had two months to prepare. Some still don't have the space, teachers or materials to start training.

The accelerated beneficiary attendant program was done in the context of a pandemic, she compares. It was urgent, there were public health issues. There, I understand, there is a labor shortage, but this shortage will be there for many, many years to come. We can take a few more months to think about what we're going to do with this.

Chantale Beaucher does not hesitate to describe the operation as a parachute drop. She is concerned about the competence of the teachers recruited at the last minute and particularly questions the effectiveness of the measure, given the fact that students will not have the obligation to work on construction sites once their training is completed.

We are destabilizing the environment in a very short time for results that will not necessarily match the investments.

A quote from Chantale Beaucher, director of the Quebec Professional Training Observatory

The director of the Grand-Fjord CFP also admits that the implementation of the tinsmith program was rushed. It was quick, confides Dominic Boily.

The admission process and the ordering of equipment, among other things, were done in a hurry. is found lucky, he says, when he compares his situation with that of other professional training centers.

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The accelerated training has “put tinsmithing back on the map”, “a little-known profession”, believes Dominic Boily, director of the CFP du Grand-Fjord at Saguenay.

The offensives remain interesting, but when the offensive becomes permanent, it can become a little more problematic, believes Dominic Boily. I think it's interesting because we saw that it really attracted people today, so much so that it's hurting the regular route a little bit. , because people say to themselves: "I'm going to wait, he's going to launch an offensive in which there will be scholarships."

He does not exclude that other initiatives of this type may eventually emerge.

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