Wanted: trades instructors

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Provincial college offering cash for tips on teachers

Academy Canada director James Loder is hoping cash referral incentives will help the school to round up instructors. — Telegram file photo

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match ... find me a trades instructor and I’ll give you a $1,000 reward.

Academy Canada is putting out the call for names of skilled trades journeypersons who might make for good college instructors — full-time, part-time and seasonal.

Give them a name and, if your recommended tradesperson is hired, you get paid.

“We’re trying to sort of make our (teacher) candidate list as deep as it can be in terms of finding good candidates,” said James Loder, a director with the private post-secondary institution.

“You might not be a welder or an electrician, but your third cousin’s brother might be and (if) you kind of mention over a coffee and you refer them onto us, next thing you know we can cut you a cheque for rent,” he said.

Loder has been giving the school’s new “employee referral program” a soft launch so far, issuing the call through his email contact list to start.


Not the first referral program

“We’ve had a referral program before, but its mainly been an internal program — mainly our teachers referring other teachers. So this time we wanted to sort of broaden it out a bit and make it much more public and get the broader masses thinking about it,” he said.

The broader masses most certainly would think about a bit of extra money in their pocket, particularly if the friend or family member they refer was considering becoming an instructor anyway.

Payments to tipsters are only made if a tradesperson is accepted as an instructor and signs on to teach with Academy Canada.

“First we have to find a journeyperson and then you have to find a journeyperson who can be a teacher and wants to be a teacher,” Loder said.

“Given the labour market conditions out there right now, sometimes it’s a challenge in finding all of the things we want in somebody.”

In terms of training, Academy Canada is currently interested in: construction/industrial electricians; plumbers; steamfitter/pipefitters; welders and occupational health and safety instructors.

There have not been any courses cancelled because of a lack of instructors, Loder said, but more instructors will be needed this year, as more students are signing up for skilled trades programs.

“This past summer, really the last three or four months, the number of applications and interest in our programs has grown dramatically — much more than we would have this time of the year typically,” he said, attributing it to increased wages and news stories about the demand for journeypersons in certain skilled trades.

More students automatically requires more teachers, because of set student-teacher ratios. “So if we go from having an expectation of 60 electricians starting in September and now that goes up to 90, that’s two new teachers,” he said.

“We’ve seen that in a lot of our programs.”

Around for 30 years now, Academy Canada has been training between 1,500 and 3,000 students a year in dozens of study programs, including the skilled trades.

The school was recently selected to help deliver adult basic education for the province. As previously reported, that contract with the provincial government will see the college rapidly expand, taking it from its existing campuses in St. John’s and Corner Brook to 14 campuses in 13 different communities.

A call to a spokesman for the College of the North Atlantic, inquiring about skilled trades instructor availability there, was not returned as of press time.



Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Academy Canada

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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Recent comments

  • Jeff Summers
    August 07, 2013 - 08:53

    If Academy Canada would pay their instructors the college would have no problem recruiting. Previously, I worked at Academy Canada and the only way one will make a descent pay cheque is if you work 9 hrs of instruction per day for a 45 hr. week. When in reality a teaching position is 30 hrs per week. There is no prep time allotted for an instructor. Now I here Mr. Loder crying and offering a $1000.00 bonus . Pay your instructors mate and this situation would not be occurring. Thanks JS

  • Danny
    August 06, 2013 - 16:41

    Interesting way of recruiting instructors... I guess the truly qualified ones know better then to go to Academy Canada. I do appreciate the reminder however, Academy Canada. I'll continue to shred any applications that come my way that indicate training at your "college"

  • Carlos
    August 06, 2013 - 12:48

    I have taught at a number of post-secondary instiutions in Canada and the US over the past 25 years, so yes, I am something of a expert, or at least more of one than you. It has been well established that students from private instiutions are nowhere as well trained since the profit margin is the overriding concern. If they want cheap, non-union staff, then there is going to be a trade-off. But doing things on the cheap and calling it "fiscal prudence" while private companies make the dosh is the Conservative way.

    • a business man
      August 07, 2013 - 07:37

      As someone who is invested in private career colleges, I will say this: I certainly care about more about having cheap, non-union staff than I do about the well being of my students. I don't actually teach any courses at my private institutions (I do lecture at a larger university), and really do not care about the well being of the students. That said, private institutions are highly regulated by the government, and there are learning objectives that have to be met. Make no mistake, I meet every standard that I am required to do so. Lets also be clear. I follow the rules no because I care about the students, but because I want to continue to be permitted to make money off their education. It is possible to do things cheap, and still get them done. I certainly know that there is more that my institution could teach the students, but the government is not pay for those things, so they are not getting taught. We teach everything that we are required to, and we do it well. Again, I am profit minded; I have no interests in exceeding standards because I am paid to meet standards.

  • carogers
    August 06, 2013 - 09:29

    CARLOS- Why comment if your not interested in the recruiting effort to fill these positions? If you are capable of "teaching" and are being recruited by colleges from, "around the world" then take their offer...What makes you an authority on post secondary education institutions? Frankly with your negative unprofessional attitude, I would not consider you an appropriate person to "teach" young people. Your skill as a trades person is only ONE consideration your attitude however is a barrier to employment as a person of influence to young workers.

  • scary thought these private schools teaching ABE
    August 06, 2013 - 09:02

    they take a fellow off the streets to teach a course; they used to take former students one time; few years back; who graduated from their programs just years earlier and make them teachers of the same program and teaching assistants; wicked what these private schools can do; and do; are there any standards of education and program quality; whats going on here

  • Carlos
    August 06, 2013 - 08:47

    WIth real trades colleges hiring around the world, why would I undersell my skills to teach at the MacDonalds of trades schools? Besides, I don't look good in a paper hat.