WATT: Workplace Alternative Trades Training
The Workplace Alternative Trades Training or “WATT” Program 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. Electrical contractors also saw 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’s Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program and aims to increase accessibility to electrical apprenticeships and reduce barriers for Youth, Women, Indigenous, 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.
Start your career in Electrical with WATT
The 3-week WATT program will give you the hands-on, employer-verified electrical training you need for a successful start to your career.
How it works
During your FREE 3-week training you will:
- Be certified in:
- Occupational First Aid Level 1
- Fall Protection
- Elevated Work Platform
- WHIMIS 2015
- Construction Safety Training Systems-09
- 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, as well as breakfast and lunch on classroom days.
- Have basic living expenses and transportation covered if travelling for training.
After successfully completing 3-weeks of training you will:
- Be dispatched to a full-time paid work placement with an IBEW signatory electrical contractor.
- Be provided with ongoing mentorship and support.
- Be sponsored by the Union into apprenticeship.
The minimum requirements to participate in WATT include:
- Be a minimum of 16 years-old
- 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.)
- Hold a valid Drivers’ License
This program is free.
Until further notice: No training dates are currently scheduled due to the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Applications are still being taken and cohorts are running on an as-needed basis, in accordance with labour market need. Modified training activities follow safety precautions as recommended by the BCCDC.
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.
What happens after I contact you?
Once we receive your message, we will return your call/email within 2 business days. We will do a small phone interview and schedule an intake time. The intake process takes about 1 hour.
What should I bring to my intake?
- A Picture ID (preferably a driver’s license)
- Proof of Citizenship (participants must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents)
- A name and number for an emergency contact
- A name and number for a reference
- A copy of your resume
How do you decide if I get accepted?
The WATT application process is a competitive one. Once you have had an intake your application will be reviewed by a committee to determine acceptance. You will be notified three weeks before the start of the course if you were accepted or not. If you are not accepted further career counseling will be offered to you.
How will I know if I am accepted?
You will be contacted regarding your acceptance approximately 3 weeks before the course start date.
What does it take to successfully complete the program?
It is important that you treat this program like you would work. Being on time and ready to learn is vital to your success in the program. In addition, a positive attitude, willingness to help others and an aptitude and fitness for the work are all part of what makes a successful applicant.
How do I become a sponsored apprentice?
Upon completion of the instructional portion of the program, graduates are registered with the ITA and their local college for levels 1-4. A program advisor tracks their success and provides guidance throughout their six-month Pre-App. WJETS provides each graduate with an Individual Learning Plan (ILP), access to online Essential Skills upgrading and tutoring to ensure they are being trained in the skills they need and prepared for their formal education.
How to Apply
WATT apprentices qualify for up to a 50% wage subsidy for six months. Candidates are thoroughly screened for eligibility and are offered three weeks of practical training and assessment prior to dispatch at the Pre-App 1 level. For more information, or to hire a WATT apprentice, contact the dispatcher at your Local Union.