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Learning while working with real customers sets VCC apart

Posted on November 10, 2017



Originally published in Metro News Vancouver 

From Nov. 5 to 11, the British Columbia government will recognize the contributions of apprentices and their employers to the province’s economy and labour force with its annual Apprenticeship Recognition Week.

Vancouver Community College (VCC), says the school’s dean of trades, technology and design, plays an important role in the apprenticed trades being recognized by facilitating a range of apprenticeship opportunities.

“We have apprenticeships in the transportation, hospitality, and hair, esthetics, and makeup trades,” says Brett Griffiths. “And what really differentiates VCC from other training providers is that our apprenticeship programs offer experiential learning that is customer-based.”

Students in the hairstylist apprenticeship, for example, practice their skills in a full-service salon, while baking and pastry arts and culinary arts apprentices provide food services at the college’s campuses, and students in programs such as automotive collision repair service vehicles through VCC’s auto shop.

“Because our students interact with real customers, it allows them to take their technical training to the next level by gaining soft skills. That is a huge advantage for our grads to have,” says Griffiths.

Apprenticeship training, says Griffiths, differs from full-time programs because of its workplace-based entry. To enroll, students must be working in the field in which they want to apprentice, be sponsored by their employer and complete the training under their employer’s guidance. And while the length of an apprenticeship varies by trade, the outcomes are typically the same. 

“Generally, the goal of apprenticeships is to acquire a greater level of technical training, which usually results in higher pay,” he says. “Additionally, many apprenticeships are a pathway to a Red Seal designation — the benchmark set out by the Industry Training Authority for skilled trades of professional practice in various industries. The Red Seal allows you to work across Canada, so it provides a lot of portability.”

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See which VCC programs allow you to "earn while you learn" as a registered apprentice.