WATT: Workplace Alternative Trades Training
The Workplace Alternative Trades Training or “WATT” Program was introduced in 2019 as a more efficient and effective pathway to electrical apprenticeship. WATT is a collaborative, innovative solution to pre-apprenticeship training that better prepares apprentices for careers in industry, giving apprentices the skills they really need to succeed. By reducing common barriers to apprenticeship, the program is building a more inclusive and highly-skilled workforce.
Take charge of your career in Electrical with WATT! The WATT program will give you the fast track, hands-on, employer-verified electrical training you need for a successful start to your career.
How it works:
- Applicants will be pre-screened for eligibility and some will be invited to participate in an assessment.
- Eligible candidates will be interviewed and presented to a selection committee.
- You may be offered an upcoming spot in the 2-week part-time online safety and industry readiness course ‘Pre-WATT’
- Participants who have successfully completed the online course may be interviewed by a representative from the IBEW.
- Selected candidates will be notified of upcoming in-person WATT Training sessions (Note: training dates are subject to change in accordance with labour market need.)
During your FREE WATT training you will:
- Be certified in:
- Occupational First Aid Level 1
- Fall Protection
- Mobile Elevated Work Platform
- Electrical Safety
- Lock Out/Tag Out
- Learn hands-on skills employers have identified as valuable on the work site.
- Be provided with an Independent Learning Plan (ILP) and support in Essential Skills upgrading throughout your pre-apprenticeship to help you prepare for your Level 1 training.
- Be provided with your basic tools and steel-toe boots required to start your career as an electrician.
- Have access to additional supports as required.
- Have basic living expenses and transportation covered if travelling for training.
After successfully completing WATT training you will:
- Be recommended for sponsorship by the Union into a registered apprenticeship.
- Be eligible for dispatch to a full-time paid work placement with an IBEW signatory electrical contractor.
- Be provided with ongoing mentorship and support.
The minimum requirements to participate in WATT include:
- Be a minimum of 17 years-old (some opportunities may be limited to those 18+ due to select General Contractor requirements)
- Be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
- Have a strong interest in becoming an electrician (successful candidates accept that they will be dispatched after training and will intend to progress into Level 1 training.)
- Preferably hold a valid Drivers’ License (Class 5 or 7)
- Be living and settled in an active dispatch region
- Provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 (although not currently required to attend training, unvaccinated participants may not be eligible for employment on sites where it is required by the client. Please note: Those without proof of vaccination may experience dispatch delays or periods of unemployment in the event that requirements are put back in place.)
This program is free! Although participants will not be paid for training, limited financial supports are available to those with demonstrated financial need. Following training, unrelated temporary or casual employment is highly encouraged while waiting (sometimes up to two months) for dispatch to employment with an Electrical Contractor.
Applications are being taken continuously. Cohorts are running semi-monthly/on an as-needed basis, in accordance with labour market need.
Recruitment is currently focusing on Victoria (Capital Region) with assessments running monthly and training semi-monthly.
WATT Participant Testimonials
“The WATT program gave me an opportunity of a lifetime that got me on the jobsite the best and quickest way that I know of. It personally has changed my life in the right direction and I am very grateful for it.” – Luke R.
“I would never go back. I don’t regret it for a single day. I think it’s the most amazing decision I ever made. I can’t wait to see it through and actually get my ticket.”-Diana D.
“The different amount of work I’ve had the chance to do already feels great, I feel as though I’ve learned so much in a short period of time. Quite a few of the journeymen have mentioned to me how they wish all apprentices got to experience the different kind of work that I’ve seen.” -Mathew L.
How to Apply
Some WATT apprentices qualify for up to a 50% wage subsidy for up to six months. Candidates are thoroughly screened for eligibility and are offered 4-5 weeks of practical training and assessment (2 weeks online and 2.5 weeks in-shop) prior to dispatch at the Pre-App 1 level. Training is adaptable in time and scope for specific dispatch requirements. For more information, or to hire a WATT apprentice, contact the dispatcher at your Local Union.
WATT is the most efficient and effective pathway to electrical apprenticeship. Prioritizing hands-on skills, attitude and work ethic, WATT ensures graduates have what they need to succeed. WATT is a collaboration between the Western Joint Electrical Training Society (Western JETS), IBEW Locals 230, 993 and 1003, and the Construction Foundation of British Columbia. In the face of the labour market skills shortage for electricians, Western JETS and the IBEW identified a need for accessible applied electrical skills training that would lead to employment. WATT was developed to fill that need. Signatory contractors also see the value in WATT and support participants through employment. WATT is designed specifically for individuals who can not easily access Electrical Foundations courses but have a desire to become an electrician. The program is funded in part by The Government of Canada under various funding streams including UTIP Innovation and the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, Women in Skilled Trades Program.
WATT aims to increase accessibility to electrical apprenticeships and reduce barriers for Youth, Marginalized Genders, Indigenous Peoples, and Newcomers to better support a skilled, inclusive, certified and productive electrical trades workforce by improving the efficiency and efficacy of pre-apprenticeship training provided.