“Construction offensive” | “More or less adequate” training, denounces the FAE

More construction workers will be trained more quickly in the coming years, according to the budget tabled in Quebec on March 12. However, on the ground, teaching conditions are sometimes approximate, denounces a union.




Within two years, the government intends to invest 111 million to accelerate training in the construction field. This measure, which was initially supposed to be one-off, is therefore renewed.

Already, 3,600 people have registered for short-term training leading to a certificate of professional studies (AEP) to work as carpenter-joiner, construction equipment operator, tinsmith or refrigeration engineer. The enthusiasm was such that 47,000 applications were received for these training programs, which come with a financial incentive of $750 per week.

Most students began their training in January, and a new cohort in carpentry and joinery is expected to begin in the spring. However, the eagerness with which these training courses were set up is reflected in the classrooms, says the Autonomous Education Federation (FAE).

“The echoes we have on the ground are that this is not happening in a very happy way at the moment. The infrastructures are not all available, the people are not all well set up to receive the students,” says Mélanie Hubert, president of the FAE.

She is concerned that Quebec is extending this program while it is still in its “infancy” and the training is “more or less adequate”.

“Confusion”

Professor and union representative at the School of Construction Trades, Éric Girard says that it was necessary to put the program in place “very, very quickly”, particularly because of the strike by teachers affiliated with the FAE before Christmas.

“When we arrived, the premises were poorly adapted, there was a lack of security,” explains Mr. Girard, who cites problems with dust suction, in particular.

It was a bit of a mess, we lacked space to give lessons and equipment.

Éric Girard, professor and union representative at the School of Construction Trades

A consultation carried out by the FAE among its members revealed that at the start of the implementation of the new programs leading to an AEP, there was a shortage of teachers in a third of them.

“Among the teachers found, not all teach the associated professional studies diploma normally. Many new teaching staff have been hired. In one case, teachers from another specialty were hired,” we read in a document produced by the FAE.

The teachers only had a few weeks to shorten the curriculum, says Éric Girard. In carpentry and joinery, “we had to cut out the notions of mathematical calculations, plans and specifications,” he illustrates.

“When they come to school, most students have never driven a nail in their life. We have to show them the whole base, so they can go and work on construction sites. The AEP lowers the standards a little,” says Mr. Girard, who wonders if it would not have been better to promote the DEP.

Vice-president for labor relations at the FAE, Benoît Giguère says he fears for safety on construction sites if people are trained too quickly.

There are risks for the workers, but also for the surrounding population, there are risks of collapse. In the case of refrigeration, there are gases passing through the pipes.

Benoît Giguère, vice-president of labor relations at the FAE

Will the “construction training offensive”, as the government called it, bear fruit? There is no obligation for people who take short courses to stay in the field afterwards.

Several students already say that they came to school to make renovations to their homes, or to take advantage of the money offered by the government to learn something else while maintaining their usual job, says teacher Éric Girard.

“The rate that will go to the construction sites at the end risks being very low,” predicts Mr. Girard.

This first cohort will graduate at the end of June.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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