by Stella Shepard
Apprenticeship is a unique post-secondary training opportunity to earn while you learn. It is a combination of 20 percent in-school training and 80 percent on-the-job work experience under the supervision of a journeyperson.
It is a partnership between industry, educational institutions, and government. PEI has 56 designated trades under apprenticeship, which is a stepping stone to becoming a journeyperson.
Jenene Crane of Cardigan is currently one of three females enrolled in the Holland College Carpentry program at the Summerside Waterfront Campus. She grew up in a household of carpenters in Eastern Kings. She was trained as an office administrator but was unable to secure long-term secure employment to support her young family.
In search of a career change, Jenene’s brother Ryan suggested she work for his company in the mean time. He owns The Brothers Crane, which specializes in residential carpentry. She worked on-site under his guidance for close to a year. The job intrigued Jenene, and she decided to pursue her new-found passion.
She decided to further explore her options for a career in the trades by participating in Trade HERizons. This program helps women explore careers in trades and technology.
Prior to submitting her application for Apprenticeship, she applied and was accepted into the Holland College Carpentry program. “Apprenticeship is usually the fast track to obtain hours and write your blocks,” says Jenene. “I could have taken this route, but I believe having the carpentry course under my belt will give me greater confidence and better prepare me for the workforce.
“The Carpentry course will give me 990 hours towards my Apprenticeship. We are given the opportunity to write our first block test after graduation. I have obtained enough hours from work and while being in class that when I pass I will be considered a first-year apprentice when I leave school.”
“We were informed at the start of the carpentry program that the learning managers are continually being contacted about available job postings in our field,” says Jenene. “Towards the end of the carpentry program, companies also contact the learning managers, looking for students who are eager to enter the workforce immediately.”
“The Apprenticeship program will keep me on track, ensuring my goals are met,” says Jenene. “With this program, the employer will lay me off, so I can return to school to complete each block.
“In order to complete the Apprenticeship program, I will need to work full-time. After I obtain enough hours per block, I will return to school for seven to eight weeks and write my next block test.
“It usually takes four years to obtain enough hours to write each block test and then go on to write the Interprovincial Red Seal exam.
“My end goal is to write the Interprovincial Red Seal exam. I know it will take a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve this goal.
“My message to young women is to consider trades as a career,” says Jenene. “There are more programs available these days such as Trade HERizons, where you can experience working hands-on in a variety of trades. This program is designed to increase the number of women in non-traditional trades and technology occupations on PEI.
“I wish more young women were exposed to the great advantages of working in a trade. We all get one life to live, so why not make the best of it and set our goals high. Anything can be achieved with the right mindset and readily available means to get us there.”
“I have already spoken with a representative from the Carpenters Union of PEI and have been informed there are numerous jobs available and employers are looking for skilled workers,” says Jenene. “I will decide on my employment options closer to graduating from the Carpentry program.”
Recently, a new incentive for female Apprentices has been introduced. The grant is for women in trades where there is a low representation of females in Red Seal Trades. Carpentry is one of the trades eligible for the grants.
Instead of receiving $1,000 after passing your first and second block and $2,000 for completing apprenticeship, funding has been raised to $3,000 per block to a maximum of $6,000 and $2,000 for completing apprenticeship.
For more information about Apprenticeship, contact Apprenticeship Training Officer Kenneth MacDougall at 902-888-8034 or click here.
For more about the Red Seal program, click here.
For more about TradeHERizons, click here.