CHOICE Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship program connects youth with opportunity

CHOICE Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship program connects youth with opportunity

February 14, 2014

Beginning on Tuesday, February 11, youth had the opportunity to attend information sessions on the CHOICE Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship program.

CHOICE program candidates listen on, as the information session begins.
CHOICE program candidates listen on, as the information session begins.

The partnership allows youth to work and train in different aspects of the construction and home renovation industry within their own communities. The program is 12 weeks long and includes job training and practical experience components.

�This is a great opportunity for youth to get involved in a trade and start a career in a field where there is industry growth,� said Anand Maharaj, Vice President of Human Resources. �The CHOICE pre-apprenticeship program will give youth some of the training and the tools they�ll need to be ready for employment in the carpentry field.�

Anand introduces the agenda for the CHOICE program�s information session.
Anand introduces the agenda for the CHOICE program�s information session.

During the information session, youth complete a basic math assessment and participate in a job readiness workshop before they are eligible for an interview.

Fifteen youth will be selected to participate in the program this year, and information sessions run until Thursday, February 20.

The CHOICE Carpentry Pre-Apprenticeship program will:

  • lay the foundation for a sustainable career in the trades for youth
  • provide participants with the resources needed to make good career choices
  • create an opportunity for participants to pursue viable career paths in the trades
  • give youth an incentive to achieve their personal potential
  • improve and create vibrant communities that people are proud to call their own
  • give youth the skills necessary to find employment and be successful in the job market

The first phase of the program is two weeks long. During this time, participants will get intensive health and safety, and basic hand-tool training at the Carpenters� Local 27 Training Centre in Woodbridge, Ontario.

The second phase of the program is 10 weeks long. During this phase, participants are divided into work crews and get practical work experience. Participants continue to train and work under the supervision of the Carpenters� Local 27 Training Centre instructors.

At the February 11 information session, participating youth shared their thoughts about why they wanted to join the CHOICE program.

�I�m looking for stable work, not odd jobs,� said Samah. �I want to be able to help support my mom and brothers, but I also want to go places.�

Youth share a light-hearted moment during their information session.
Youth share a light-hearted moment during their information session.

�I�m looking to change careers as I work in social services and it�s hard to find a job,� said Julia. �I like doing things with my hands and get an immense amount of pleasure out of creating things. I want to be the person in a neighbourhood that people come to ask for help. I want to serve a purpose that�s practical and one that I can give back to my community.�

�I�m interested in getting a career, not just a job,� said McKing. �I don�t want to work jobs that just last for a few days. This program is a chance to learn while getting paid and then being able to find a career after.�

After successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:

  • pursue apprenticeships in the construction trades that they were exposed to during the pre-apprenticeship program (e.g., general carpentry, drywall)
  • get job placement assistance and follow-up support by the program partners

Each participant will be paid $11.00 per hour for all training and work completed as part of the pre-apprenticeship program. The YMCA will also cover the costs of a start-up tool set and Personal Protective Equipment (hardhat, safety boots and safety glasses) required for work on the jobsite.

Staff demonstrate a practice math test for youth candidates
Staff demonstrate a practice math test for youth candidates

Toronto Community Housing is committed to connecting youth and adults with career and employment opportunities by working with business partners and creating educational scholarships, mentorship programs, apprenticeships and training opportunities that link residents' skill development with the needs of the local labour market.

Since 2005, 105 youth have graduated from the CHOICE program.

CHOICE is a partnership with the Carpenters� Local Union 27 Joint Apprenticeship & Training Trust Fund Inc., the Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities, and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

For more information on the CHOICE program and other opportunities for residents, please visit the Opportunities for Tenants page .