Campus News

Lethbridge College is ready to support newcomers with an interest in trades thanks to a $300,000 Settlement, Integration and Language Projects (SILP) grant. Awarded by Alberta’s Ministry of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism, SILP funding supports projects that work toward strengthening a diverse and inclusive workforce by helping communities attract, welcome and retain newcomers.

Lethbridge College is the first southern Alberta post-secondary institution to be awarded a SILP grant.

The college’s successful proposal entitled “Opening New Employment Pathways to the Trades and Associated Professions in Alberta” is a collaborative program between the Centre for Business, Arts and Sciences, which includes the English Language Centre, and the Centre for Trades, as well as potential employers and businesses in Lethbridge and southern Alberta. The customized 15-week program will focus on building professional, technical, communication and occupation-specific skills needed to enter and succeed in the local labour market.

“The type of training offered in this program could make all the difference for newcomers to southern Alberta who are looking for employment in southern Alberta’s trades and manufacturing sectors,” says Kevin Smith, Dean, Centre for Business, Arts and Sciences. “Thanks to SILP, we can utilize our world-class facilities for trades and apprenticeship training and English language teaching to offer a program that will give newcomers the skills they need to be successful, while helping to address labour shortages in multiple industries.”

The $300,000 grant to Lethbridge College will provide program funding for three groups over two years – up to 72 people in total. Introduction to Trades, one of four courses that participants will take, combines online knowledge-based work with a hands-on component to develop key skills in individual trades such as welding, plumbing, carpentry and more. At the same time, students will be enrolled in a course covering industry-specific English terminology and language.

“This program is an amazing collaboration,” says Sheldon Anderson, Dean, Centre for Trades.  “Not only will it allow newcomers to our region to explore as many trades opportunities as possible in a practical way, but it will also help them become proficient in specialized English – a requirement for trades employment.”

The remaining two courses, Employment Skills and Employment Readiness, will provide insight into the labour market and teach participants how to develop effective job search strategies, better understand Canadian workplace culture and build professional networks.

After completing the program, students will have the standard skills and knowledge required to pass Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training entrance exam to further their education in a recognized trade. Graduates will also be equipped to secure and retain employment in the general trades or manufacturing sector and other areas vital to the province’s economy.

“Lethbridge College is proud to offer such a wonderfully collaborative and innovative program to help support our newest community members as they work toward their education and employment goals,” says Dr. Samantha Lenci, Provost and Vice President Academic. “We are so thankful to have been awarded this SILP grant, and we look forward to actively engaging learners and industry partners so program participants can be successful in their lives and careers.”

To learn more about Lethbridge College’s Opening New Employment Pathways to the Trades and Associated Professions in Alberta program, email [email protected].