Provincial college offering cash for tips on teachers
Academy Canada director James Loder is hoping cash referral incentives will help the school to round up instructors. — Telegram file photo
Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match ... find me a trades instructor and I’ll give you a $1,000 reward.
Academy Canada is putting out the call for names of skilled trades journeypersons who might make for good college instructors — full-time, part-time and seasonal.
Give them a name and, if your recommended tradesperson is hired, you get paid.
“We’re trying to sort of make our (teacher) candidate list as deep as it can be in terms of finding good candidates,” said James Loder, a director with the private post-secondary institution.
“You might not be a welder or an electrician, but your third cousin’s brother might be and (if) you kind of mention over a coffee and you refer them onto us, next thing you know we can cut you a cheque for rent,” he said.
Loder has been giving the school’s new “employee referral program” a soft launch so far, issuing the call through his email contact list to start.
Not the first referral program
“We’ve had a referral program before, but its mainly been an internal program — mainly our teachers referring other teachers. So this time we wanted to sort of broaden it out a bit and make it much more public and get the broader masses thinking about it,” he said.
The broader masses most certainly would think about a bit of extra money in their pocket, particularly if the friend or family member they refer was considering becoming an instructor anyway.
Payments to tipsters are only made if a tradesperson is accepted as an instructor and signs on to teach with Academy Canada.
“First we have to find a journeyperson and then you have to find a journeyperson who can be a teacher and wants to be a teacher,” Loder said.
“Given the labour market conditions out there right now, sometimes it’s a challenge in finding all of the things we want in somebody.”
In terms of training, Academy Canada is currently interested in: construction/industrial electricians; plumbers; steamfitter/pipefitters; welders and occupational health and safety instructors.
There have not been any courses cancelled because of a lack of instructors, Loder said, but more instructors will be needed this year, as more students are signing up for skilled trades programs.
“This past summer, really the last three or four months, the number of applications and interest in our programs has grown dramatically — much more than we would have this time of the year typically,” he said, attributing it to increased wages and news stories about the demand for journeypersons in certain skilled trades.
More students automatically requires more teachers, because of set student-teacher ratios. “So if we go from having an expectation of 60 electricians starting in September and now that goes up to 90, that’s two new teachers,” he said.
“We’ve seen that in a lot of our programs.”
Around for 30 years now, Academy Canada has been training between 1,500 and 3,000 students a year in dozens of study programs, including the skilled trades.
The school was recently selected to help deliver adult basic education for the province. As previously reported, that contract with the provincial government will see the college rapidly expand, taking it from its existing campuses in St. John’s and Corner Brook to 14 campuses in 13 different communities.
A call to a spokesman for the College of the North Atlantic, inquiring about skilled trades instructor availability there, was not returned as of press time.