MRO Magazine

Employers awarded for improving Ontarians’ skills through apprenticeship training

Toronto, ON -- As part of its plan to strengthen the education and skills of Ontarians, the provincial government i...


April 19, 2005
By MRO Magazine

Toronto, ON — As part of its plan to strengthen the education and skills of Ontarians, the provincial government is recognizing four employers for their commitment to training apprentices and promoting careers in the skilled trades.

“These employers are exceptional leaders not only because of their commitment to training apprentices, but also because of their involvement in developing training standards for their industries,” Mary Anne Chambers, provincial Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities said.

“They have led the wayin opening doors to training for youth, new immigrants and other people who in the past have not been able to fully access opportunities to training in the skilled trades.”

Award recipients Brouwer Plumbing & Heating, Regent Car Star Collision, RHO-CAN Machine & Tool Company and Thompson Electric (Seeley’s Bay) were recognized for their outstanding participation in the apprenticeship training system at the recent third annual Minister’s Apprenticeship Employers Recognition and Awards Event.


RHO-CAN Machine & Tool Company Ltd. was established 20 years ago by Diamantino (DJ) De Jesus and Alf and Cas Marques, who received their formal training in the tool and die profession in the former territory of Rhodesia in Africa.

From a one-machine, three-person operation, this London-based tool and die company has grown into a 40,000-sq-ft plant, with apprentices at the core of its success.

In order to facilitate the training of apprentices, RHO-CAN has set up a dedicated training area within the plant. Its employees have helped to develop the curriculum for the tool and die program at Fanshawe College and work with local high schools to promote the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people. Since it was established, RHO-CAN has trained and registered more than 30 apprentices. Fifteen apprentices are being trained at the company today.

Thompson Electric (Seeley’s Bay) Ltd. has demonstrated a strong commitment to apprenticeship training over the past 40 years. The small company is located in Seeley’s Bay, which is north of Gananoque, Ont., and employs 50, including nine apprentices. It provides a wide range of electrical services to the Kingston/Brockville area.

The company is very supportive of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Job Connect. Its owner, Earl Thompson, served on the ministry’s advisory committee for the construction and maintenance electrician trade, and has worked with the provincial government and local employers to create a skilled trades advisory group for the area.

Thompson is also active with the local training board, the St. Lawrence College electrical advisory committee and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Thompson Electric actively promotes the benefits of apprenticeship training and careers in the electrical trade at public meetings and to high school students, and distributes a newsletter promoting careers in skilled trades.

Brouwer Plumbing is a London-based company that, over the past 40 years, has not only trained and certified about 100 plumbing apprentices, but also made an extra effort to hire newcomers to Ontario.

The owner, Dick Brouwer, immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands, and knows first-hand the challenges faced when moving to a new country. He makes an effort to ease those challenges and has hired tutors to help his new employees meet provincial standards.

Brouwer Plumbing has continually worked with London’s school boards to promote the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, which allows students to begin their apprenticeship training while still in school. The company has also been a strong supporter of a local high school co-op program by hiring up to two students per year to introduce them to the plumbing trade.

The company is currently training six plumbing apprentices and all but one is under the age of 25.

Regent Car Star is a strong proponent of continuous lifelong learning and provides ongoing training opportunities and programs for its employees and other trades people in Northern Ontario. The Sudbury employer not only provides training for its employees at an on-site centre but also extends training to trades people in the autobody collision and repair industry throughout the North.

The company has trained 13 apprentices since 1987. Currently, about 40% of its workforce are registered apprentices.

The employers were among 16 honoured at the event. Other recipients include:

Dial One Wolfedale Electric Ltd., Mississauga; G-P Flakeboard Co., Sault Ste. Marie; Glueckler Metal Inc., Barrie; Goodyear (Napanee) Canada Inc., Napanee; and Toromont Industries, Concord.