Toronto – When the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) launched the Strengthening the Red Seal initiative, one of the top priorities was to achieve an improved standard. After all, quality standards are the backbone of the Red Seal Program. The Canadian standard of excellence for skilled trades provides all partners with industry’s guideposts for describing the trade, for designing useful and consistent apprenticeship training tools and for developing fair and consistent tools for assessment.
It has been an exciting time for the Program. The piloting of the Red Seal Occupational Standard (RSOS) in the Construction Electrician and Steamfitter/Pipefitter trades has now been completed! The experience was marked by innovative ideas, extensive partnerships with industry, and continual questioning about what we were doing and how we could do it better. The CCDA worked closely with industry from the Construction Electrician and the Steamfitter/Pipefitter trades to develop the RSOS.
The RSOS will take the place of the National Occupational Analysis (NOA). What sets it apart from the NOA? A primary enhancement being implemented is the broader engagement of stakeholders in setting the standard. Not only are active tradespeople involved, but insight from employers and trades instructors is gathered to better inform the expectations of the trade and how they can best be taught in apprenticeship training. An impressive level of industry engagement can be harnessed through all provinces’ and territories’ on-the-ground connections as well as through strong national industry voices.
As for the content of the new standard, there are a number of features that have been added. Descriptions of the performance and evidence of attainment help to better define the skill requirements for the trade. Setting specific learning outcomes and learning objectives necessary to acquire the knowledge behind the trade is also an improvement. These additions will help apprenticeship training providers to develop technical training programs that meet the needs of industry that are in the standard. These features align well with the CCDA’s priority of supporting the harmonization of apprenticeship training across Canada.
With all of the features collected in the new standards, there are a number of products that can be derived from them, with content compiled specifically for particular users and applications. These include:
- – informational products such as the occupational standard, standards posters and trade profiles;
- – tools that support assessment such as exam development guides, exam preparation guides and declaration of trade work experience forms;
- – apprenticeship training products such as curriculum outlines, logbooks, on-the-job training guides and essential skills outlines.
All of the RSOS informational products will be available for download at www.red‑seal.ca in 2016. Other products and tools will be available for use by apprenticeship authorities to implement and adapt within their own jurisdictions. The CCDA plans to roll out the new standard to all Red Seal trades as part of their regularly scheduled revisions.