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Students in construction to “renovate their chalet”” /></p>
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<p class=So far, 4,338 students have been admitted to accelerated training and DEPs targeted by the “construction offensive » of the Legault government.

  • Sébastien Desrosiers (View profile)Sébastien Desrosiers

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Doubts persist as to the effectiveness of the “offensive” launched by Quebec to fill the labor shortage in the construction field. Among the students who follow accelerated training and who are paid to do so, some have no intention of working on a construction site, teachers note.

The professional studies certificate (AEP) programs hastily developed in recent weeks have been very successful. Nearly 47,000 people applied for admission.

There is a lot of enthusiasm, it’s a course that was expected, confirms Charles Perreault-Deschênes, who teaches carpentry and joinery in the Chaudière-Appalaches region. It is a program that responds very well to the needs of customers, but also to the needs of businesses and government.

He has worked on #x27;worked hard with his colleagues at the Professional Training Center (CFP) of L'envolée, whose resourcefulness he salutes, to prepare the new course which has been given since last week.

As of January 26, according to the Ministry of Education, 4,388 students were admitted to these accelerated training courses and to the DEPs targeted by the “construction offensive”, which corresponds to the objective set by Quebec to train between 4000 and 5000 workers.

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But will these students all go to help out on construction sites? No, say three teachers who spoke to Radio-Canada.

It’s certain that there are some who do it to develop their knowledge, quite simply, indicates Charles Perreault-Deschênes. I'm thinking of a student, for example, who has income properties and who would like to be able to do the work himself. Others have more humble projects. It could simply be to improve their personal residence.

All those who take the course, he insists, are of good will , but he understands that some were attracted by the remuneration offered, of $750 per week.

We agree that these are not all people who are going to work on large construction sites, I don't think.

Same observation in a professional training center in Montérégie.

The majority of the students we currently have, I think, do it for the right reasons, explains a carpentry and joinery teacher, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from his employer. For some, it's the opportunity of a lifetime to still be able to meet their payments and take training to improve their lot or simply do something they've wanted to do their whole life.

On the other hand, we also have students who are already retired now, and they have no intention of working in the construction industry afterwards, he says. What they want is rather to acquire skills to be able to maintain their house, renovate their chalet, make patios, build sheds. This is where it bothers me a lot as a citizen, not just as a teacher.

Presently, they are paid to learn and have pleasure.

The establishment where this person works even considered giving accelerated training in operating construction equipment, but after analyzing the first 100 applications for admission, it was abandoned.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The average age of the students was over 60, explains the teacher. Some have maple groves. […] They are retired, they have the time, they have always wanted to do that.

But given that there are no criteria to respect, unlike beneficiary attendants, that means that we are exposed to that, he laments. It's very sad.

Although these testimonies do not allow conclusions to be drawn for all cohorts, this reality is observed in other school service centers.

I am in contact with teachers in several regions, says a person who works in education in the greater Quebec region, who also testifies confidentially since she is not authorized to speak publicly. When we look at the students in our classes, whether we are in carpentry-joinery or operating construction equipment, people have signed up to finish their basement, to make their shed, to make a concrete slab under their garage, […] finish cleaning the woodlot, enlarge the sugar shack.

To those who demand an obligation to work in the field after their paid training, as was the case for beneficiary attendants, the government responds that the conditions are different.

The imposition of conditions to force students to work in the construction sector would not have been feasible, due to the administrative burden that these would have generated and the fact that the workers will not be state employees, writes the office of the Minister of Labor, Jean Boulet, in a statement sent to Radio-Canada.

In the vast majority of cases, the short training courses that we have created to meet the overwhelming labor needs in construction are going well, we continue. Students who have started are very motivated to learn in order to have paying jobs in the industry. Let us also point out that several of them have or will have job offers from a large number of different employers before even completing their training, which demonstrates the need on the ground. p>

In fact, rapid, paid training is offered to train personnel in five trades where the needs are dire: tinsmith, carpenter, excavator operator, heavy equipment operator and refrigeration engineer.

The Association de la construction du Québec (ACQ) was among those who wanted such a measure implemented.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The government has been asked to have something similar in the health sector, said its spokesperson, Guillaume Houle. We were turned down. We were told that it was complex to put in place.

However, he is of the opinion that the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Education and the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) could themselves have managed admissions to accelerated training and then checked whether the hours worked in the industry correspond.

The objective is not to seek out skills to build a shed or renovate your basement, the objective is to have workers in our industry, argues Guillaume Houle. So, if these people are not coming to the construction sites, we are simply asking them to leave.

According to the latest CCQ estimates , there are between 10,000 and 12,000 vacancies in the construction industry.

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