KEMPTVILLE — Several years after the University of Guelph’s pullout from the site, a revival of skilled trades training is taking place at the former Kempville College campus here.
Unveiled yesterday by provincial cabinet minister Steve Clark, the new program will see four area school boards offer “a select number” of high school and adult education students technician training in the truck and coach, heavy duty, and agricultural career fields.
The programs are scheduled to begin in September 2021 under the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and will be offered in both official languages.
“Today is another big step forward in the revitalization of the Kemptville Campus. I’m so pleased that our government has recognized the need to give students from Eastern Ontario the opportunity to train for a career in the trades close to home — as they have done here for generations,” said the Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands-and-Rideau-Lakes MPP, making the Oct. 23 announcement on behalf of Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton.
The province will fund approximately 20 seats in the programs, said Clark, who was joined at the event by North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford and representatives of the involved school boards.
The announcement by Clark — Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing — “represents a significant evolution in the role that Kemptville Campus will play in the education and economic development sectors in our region,” said Peckford.
“We’ve been working closely with Minister Clark’s office and would like to recognize the province’s commitment to advancing this goal. Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman and I want to also sincerely thank all four school boards for their collaboration and enthusiasm to work together on this initiative. With strong relationships — and the support of industry partners — we will once again be able to deliver much needed skills training to our youth from Eastern Ontario right here in at Kemptville Campus,” added Peckford.
Kemptville Campus has been delivering educational programs for over 100 years. The last trades training courses were delivered in 2016. The Municipality of North Grenville purchased the Campus from the province in 2018 with a mandate that includes promoting innovation and business incubation, and sustaining and growing opportunities for agricultural education.
The municipality has previously worked with local school boards to re-establish an educational presence at the property following the U of G’s departure. Two former college buildings at the Campus now serve as French-language schools. A third building hosts the Upper Canada District Board’s adult education “TR Leger” school.
Approval of the new program came after a joint Training Delivery Application (TDA) made by the Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre with the UCDSB and Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO).
The UCDSB is expressing delight at the latest development.
“This successful TDA application is an important development in the shared vision of the UCDSB and our community partners to create multiple entry points, in both official languages, for community-based learning and trade certifications,” said UCDSB Chair John McAllister. “We are pleased to celebrate what promises to be a strong, local opportunity for skill development, employment, and continuing education in the trades.”
The occasion seems to have been a more upbeat one after the province’s earlier announcement of a planned prison for the old farm portion of the sprawling Campus property, an idea prompting concern and confusion in some quarters of the community.