For Jerome Bradley and his classmates, it’s pretty clear: the College of the North Atlantic students need apprenticeships or they likely won’t be able to start their careers in this province.
The group is taking a millwright course at the College of the North Atlantic and, hoping to be able to stay in the province, inquired about apprenticeships at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper. They said they were told there are none, so they sent a letter to Corner Brook Mayor Charles Pender asking if he might be able to help.
Bradley said the letter sums up the benefits of apprenticeship programs in terms of starting a career and keeping people in the province instead of losing young workers to areas like Alberta.
“We don’t want to go out west ... we want to start our careers here and stay here,” Bradley said. “We just want to get some help from the city so we wrote that letter to the mayor.
Pender said he hasn’t seen the letter yet but added that he can empathize. He said there could be any reason why the students might not be able to work at the mill.
“I just don’t know, but I hope the (students) can get their training,” Pender said.
Bradley’s classmate, Stephen Genge of Flowers Cove, said he also has no interest in leaving. He’s been living in Corner Brook for the past three years.
“I’d like to stay in Corner Brook,” he said. “I have family still back in Flowers Cove and I’d like to stay near to them, but at the same time I want to get my career going.”
The students maintained that apprenticeships are an excellent way to provide work and stop the population decrease currently affecting the province. With apprenticeship programs, Bradley said, the salaries could be at least partially funded by government education programs.
Calls made to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper were not returned Thursday afternoon.