May 6, 2021
As part of its annual conference, NETCO awards a deserving individual the Leadership Excellence Award. This was presented today as part of our conference to Adrien Livingston, RSE, Executive Director of Training for the Western Joint Electrical Training Society from Delta, British Columbia.
Livingston was recognized for his tireless efforts in creating a program to bring Indigenous youth, new Canadians, women, and other individuals that normally face barriers into the electrical construction apprenticeship as part of the creation of the Workplace Alternative Training Program (WATT).
The virtual recognition included messages of congratulations from several industry stakeholders including Phil Venoit, Business Manager/Financial Secretary of IBEW 230 in Victoria, British Columbia.
“The work put in to bring the WATT Program to life, literally continues to change lives every day for people without the program, who would likely not have the capability or the supports to enter into our great trade. These individuals owe their new life-changing career to Adrien’s vision and work. This is unmistakably the mark of a true leader,” said Veniot.
NETCO Executive Director Melissa Young was very pleased with the nomination and selection of Livingston and said his recognition could not be timelier based on the shortage of skilled trades professionals facing the entire country. “On behalf of NETCO we are so pleased to honour Adrien with this award. The WATT program aligns with the values and goals NETCO has in place when it comes to educating the next generation of the electrical industry including an emphasis on those who face barriers, and we could not be happier to see him celebrated today,” said Young.
Over the last two years, WATT has had 120 new students as part of their programming and 93% have been registered into the Electrical construction apprentice program attending Camosun College, Vancouver Island University and North Island College. The program has been very well received and will be emulated for other construction trades by the Vancouver Island Building Trades and Construction Union in partnership with the Provincial Government’s “Back to Work” Program.
The WATT Program provides for pre-apprentices their own tools, work boots, coveralls, essentially everything they need to begin work without the additional out of pocket expenses including lodging for out-of-town students, that could limit many with limited resources from entering the skilled trades.
WATT arms pre-apprentices with 5 essential safety courses, WHMIS, Ariel Work Platform, First Aid, Fall Arrest, and site ready lock-out/ tag-out. It then offers 3 weeks of practical shop experience, so they are ready to perform basic tasks from day one on the job. Once ready, students are placed at one of 38 construction contractors on the Island. Students are then monitored for their progress bi-monthly, registered for school and provided with schoolbooks and bursaries with each passing school year.