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Pre-apprenticeship Training for Roofers
Background Briefing for Provincial Associations

Contractors on the Roofing Task Committee of SMARTHINC(1)  and the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association CRCA have developed a pre-apprenticeship program that will deliver benefits to your members and the entire industry.  Employers face a shrinking pool of people with the aptitude required to become skilled roofers.  It is crucial to recruit, train and retain young people in the trade.  The pre-apprenticeship program sets out guidelines for training programs and mentoring practices that will help your members recruit and retain new workers.

CRCA invites all Provincial Associations to promote the pre-apprenticeship plan and offer support to participating members.  This program will help your members to:

There are even larger benefits for the entire industry.  The program is intended to: With support from HRDC, the CRCA is able to supply you and your contractors with training guidelines, instruction materials for mentors/coaches, logbooks, the Canadian Roofing Reference Manual and promotional material.

Why Pre-apprenticeship?

Pre-apprenticeship has been tried and proven in British Columbia.   The program has been reviewed by the best roofing trainers in Canada and reflects their input.  Every effort has been made to incorporate the best parts of these and other programs.  There is no duplication with existing efforts and the program has been tailored to incorporate provincial regulations that apply in your area.

From the start the committee determined that the program would lead to apprenticeship and be:

 Contractors, the trade unions and training departments in all provinces have been involved in the design.  National recognition allows you to screen out-of-province candidates easily and improves mobility of workers.   This will benefit the entire industry.

Whatís in it for the Industry?

Roofing has traditionally had a high rate of turnover among new workers while facing a high rate of accidents and associated WCB costs.  Both these problems are addressed in a new pre-apprenticeship program.  The program provides you with training guidelines and help train your supervisory staff in mentoring.   Once implemented, the program will help you to recruit, train and retain the workers that you want and need.

The program is designed to attract, then screen new workers so that the best stay in the trade.  Many provinces are now requiring the safety training contained in the pre-apprenticeship plan and participating now puts you one step ahead.  This orientation and safety training can be recognized as part of the due diligence that is part of a contractorís responsibility.  It is very likely that the industry as a whole will actually reduce costs with this program as lower turnover will increase productivity and improved safety will reduce costs.

Whatís in it for the Association?

Your association gains access to new services for members without any additional costs.  The program has the support of the Directors of Apprenticeship in your province.  Training guidelines are consistent with local regulation and avoid any duplication by drawing on the ideas and programs already in place in each province.

There will be no duplication of effort and no competition for resources related to the national pre-apprenticeship program.  The CRCA is intent on complementing local activity and adding value.

Questions and Concerns

Contractors may be concerned that participation by their workers may increase the likelihood that they will move to other contractors.

This risk will be more than offset by increased retention and the added attractiveness of employment in participating firms.
Contractors may be concerned that they are being asked to take on the cost of training that should be part of first year apprenticeship.
The pre-apprenticeship program is carefully designed to support, not replace apprenticeship.  Training is introductory and will not duplicate apprenticeship.  Rather, the program is deliberately intended to encourage new roofers to stay in the trade and go on to apprenticeship.

For further information, please call:
Bob Brunet, Canadian Roofing Contractorsí Association (CRCA)    1-800-461-2722
Mark Curtis, Sheet Metal Workers Internatiola Association    1-800-448-4177

1.  The Sheet Metal and Roofing Training and Human Resources National Committee (SMARTHINC) has nineteen members selected from all provinces and from union and non-union employment.  A Roofing Task Committee of 26 specialists designed the pre-apprenticeship program with support from Prism Economics and Analysis.