Released January 8, 2008

Housing Increases Provincial Apprenticeship Opportunities

As a result of Provincial Government investments to ensure a highly-qualified work force to meet increasing labour demands, Newfoundland Labrador Housing (Housing), has hired 11 apprentices located in St. John’s, Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook and Stephenville. The apprentices were hired through the Government Hiring Apprentices Program. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Shawn Skinner, Minister Responsible for Housing and Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, and the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education.

"This administration continues to make strategic investments to encourage economic growth in our province. Our greatest asset is our people, and the apprenticeship program offered by Newfoundland Labrador Housing is definitely one more strategic investment that will enable us to be ready to respond to market needs in both our urban and rural communities," said Minister Skinner. "This is a positive step toward building a strong and prosperous province with self-reliant people."

In 2006, the Provincial Government announced the Government Hiring Apprentices Program, which was designed to assist skilled trade apprentices who required work experience in order to complete their apprenticeship program. In Budget 2007, an additional $300,000 was provided to expand this program to Provincial Government agencies, school boards and health boards. Housing was allocated $100,000 of those funds to allow for new employment opportunities within the organization. Throughout the public sector, a total of 60 apprentices have earned valuable training hours through this program.

"It was identified through the work of the skills task force the need for apprentices to have access to jobs, get the required work experience and acquire their Red Seal," said Minister Burke. "This will put them in the position to take advantage of the needs that are arising for skilled labour in our province. I am pleased that as a government we are not only setting the direction and policy to address the shortage in skilled labour, but by actually hiring apprentices, we are making a very practical contribution that I hope other employers in our province will make as well."

The plan to support these positions had originally been announced earlier this June by Minister Skinner, Wayne Lucas, President, CUPE, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Bob Clarke, Business Manager, IBEW Local 1615, as part of four planned beautification initiatives undertaken by Housing. The apprenticeship positions were offered in: St. John’s – two carpenters, four plumbers and one electrician; Grand Fall-Windsor – two carpenters; Corner Brook – one carpenter; and Stephenville – one carpenter. The apprentices will be engaged in both interior and exterior repair and refurbishment activities associated with the maintenance of Newfoundland Labrador Housing owned residential properties.

All the successful candidates have completed their entry-level apprenticeship training from a recognized post-secondary education institution and are registered in the Apprenticeship and Certification Program, managed by the Department of Education, industrial training section. Each apprentice has been offered 1,800 hours of employment with Housing, under the supervision of a journeyman for their applicable trade. The training terms started November 2007and will run to October 2008.


Media contacts:

Ed Moriarity
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour
and Employment
709-720-4062, 728-9623
Jenny Bowring
Communications Manager
Newfoundland Labrador Housing
Jacquelyn Howard
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 689-2624