Conestoga College Logo - Home Page

Success Stories

Trades and Apprenticeship Employer Newsletter

Spring 2018 - A Message from the Chairs of Trades & Apprenticeship

At Conestoga we are passionate about the skilled trades and we are proud to be one of the largest colleges in Ontario delivering trades and apprenticeship programming.

We have excellent faculty, strong programming and are constantly updating our shops to ensure that we are staying current with industry needs. We are extremely grateful to the employers in our community who support our programming through donations, or through participation on our advisory committees or those who hire our students or train apprentices in the workplace.

Trades and apprenticeship training would not be successful without this involvement, dedication and commitment. We are fortunate to be in a community that so strongly supports and values the skilled trades.

We have had a busy winter and spring so we wanted to share all of the exciting things going on at Conestoga in Trades and Apprenticeship. We hope you enjoy the update.

Rachel, Joni, Luis, Brenda, Suzanne and Stephen

Changes to the Trades & Apprenticeship Leadership Team:

The School of Trades & Apprenticeship has had many recent changes in leadership. We want to welcome Julia McFarlane, who started in May 2018 and Sarah Zamin, who started in July 2018 as new managers to our area. Here is our leadership team:

Julia Biedermann
Executive Dean, Schools of Engineering & IT, Trades & Apprenticeship and Institute of Food Processing Technology

Rachel Banham
Chair, responsible for Electrical and Powerline programs
Doon Campus and Ingersoll Facility

Joni Jean
Chair, responsible for Motive Power programs
Guelph Campus

Luis Garcia
Chair, responsible for Millwright and Food Processing programs
Cambridge Campus

Suzanne Moyer
Chair, responsible for Construction programs
Waterloo Campus

Brenda Gilmore
Chair, responsible for Precision Metal and Cabinetmaking programs
Doon Campus

Stephen Speers
Chair, responsible for trades programs and business/program development
Branford Campus and surrounding area

Julia McFarlane
Program Manager, Trades & Apprenticeship
Guelph Campus

Sarah Zamin
Program Manager, Trades & Apprenticeship
Doon Campus

New Programs

Mechanical Techniques - Precision Machining and Tooling
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic (Apprenticeship) is now available in block delivery
Electrical Techniques

Programs are still open for September 2018.
View a complete list of open programs

Awards Ceremony Recognizes Trades & Apprenticeship Students

On May 23, more than 200 awards valued at $241,000 were presented to students at Conestoga’s ninth annual Trades & Apprenticeship Awards Presentation at the Waterloo campus. The event recognizes outstanding student achievement in the motive power, construction and industrial trades.

Julia Biedermann, executive dean, School of Engineering & IT, School of Trades & Apprenticeship, and Institute for Food Processing Technology, welcomed students, family members, donors, Program Advisory Committee members, community partners and members of the Conestoga community to the event.

Biedermann estimates that more than $1 million dollars has been distributed to students through the annual ceremony since 2010 thanks to the generosity of the many industry partners, associations and individuals who support it. It is believed to be the largest awards presentation of its kind in Canada.

Read more about the awards ceremony.

Save the date: the 2019 Conestoga College Awards Presentation and BBQ will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

Recipients named for the Weston Family Scholarship in the Skilled Trades

Ten Conestoga trades students and five apprenticeship students have been named recipients of the Weston Family Skilled Trades Scholarship. The scholarships have been structured to support students throughout the completion of their programs: recipients will receive up to $4,000 from the Weston Scholarship program and will also receive tuition awards from Conestoga each academic year to assist with tuition costs.

The Weston Family Skilled Trades Scholarship was announced in February and will support Conestoga students through a multi-year skilled trades scholarship program. Over the next four years, the program will provide more than 65 students and close to 20 apprentices in a range of construction, industrial and motive power sector programs an opportunity to pursue successful careers in the skilled trades.

The scholarships are open to students in their first year of a diploma or certificate skilled trades program, and apprentices entering Level 1 in-class training.

The 2017-18 recipients are:


Trades students:

Read more about the Weston Family Scholarship recipients

Students advance to National Skills Competition

Conestoga students Jennifer Norman and Dalton Cousineau finished the 2018 Ontario Skills Competition with first place wins and will now advance to the Skills Canada National Competition in Edmonton this June.

The provincial competition took place May 7 to 9 in Toronto and provided 2,000 secondary and post-secondary students with an opportunity to showcase and test their skills in more than 65 unique skilled trades and technology contests across the manufacturing, transportation, construction, service and technology sectors.

Norman and Cousineau were among the 32 students who represented the college this year at the provincial level. Conestoga’s team finished with 10 medals.

Read more about the students advancing to national skills competition

Woodworking graduate wins third Cabinetmaking Competition

Caleb Perry, a 2017 graduate of Conestoga’s Woodworking Technology advanced diploma program, finished in first place at the 2018 AWMAC provincial cabinetmaking contest held March 24 at Georgian College. This marks Perry’s third straight win at the annual competition which welcomes cabinetmaking students and apprentices from across Ontario.

Read more about the cabinetmaking competition

Conestoga Alumni honoured at Awards Ceremony

On April 11, 18 Conestoga graduates were presented with Alumni of Distinction awards at a ceremony held at the Waterloo Region Museum. The award recognizes outstanding graduates who have made significant contributions to their profession and their communities. Since its establishment in 1997, more than 200 graduates have been honoured with the award.

Read more about alumni honoured at awards ceremony

Conestoga celebrates International Women's Day

On March 8, the Conestoga community recognized International Women’s Day with an event at the Doon campus that included a presentation from Dr. Julia Biedermann, executive dean, School of Engineering & IT, School of Trades & Apprenticeship, and Institute for Food Processing Technology, who discussed her career in engineering and how feminism has impacted it.

“It really wasn’t a choice,” explained Biedermann as she recounted an experience in grade school when she had to pick an elective and was only given two options. “The reality was the girls took home economics and the boys took shop. Feeling a bit rebellious I ticked off shop on the form and that resulted in a trip to the principal’s office. I tried to argue my point … It’s not that I really wanted to take shop class. It was about trying to change a practice I found discriminatory.”

Despite the practices she encountered when she was younger, Biedermann said she never thought twice about entering a male-dominated field like engineering and now, through her role at the college, encourages other women to do the same. She supports initiatives and outreach activities to introduce young women to STEM programs: the college’s Trades and Technology Days, Jill of All Trades, Go ENG Girl and Go CODE Girl events are held at Conestoga campuses for women to learn more about careers and opportunities in engineering, technology and the skilled trades.

Read more about Conestoga celebrating International Women's Day

Contractor Sherry Holmes joins students at TNT Day

A group of 36 female students in grades seven to 10 had the opportunity to meet and work alongside contractor Sherry Holmes at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus on March 7. The event was the first of Conestoga’s three Trades and Technology (TNT) Days for young women which deliver hands-on activities related to different careers in the construction, industrial, motive power, engineering and architectural industries. The event is presented in partnership with the School College Work Initiative to give students a chance to explore career choices.

Read more about Sherry Holmes at TNT Day.

Jill of all Trades event for young women

On May 30, approximately 200 female students from nine school boards attended Conestoga’s Jill of all Trades at the Cambridge campus. The event featured hands-on workshops led by female mentors to help young women in grades nine to 12 develop a better understanding of the potential of skilled trades careers.

The event is now in its fifth year and had the support of more than 100 volunteers including current students, alumni, faculty and technicians who delivered 12 workshops. While participating in activities like welding, masonry, electrical and plumbing, visiting students were able to meet women working in various sectors and learn more about Conestoga’s Trades & Apprenticeship programs.

During her welcome to participants, Julia Biedermann, executive dean, School of Engineering & IT, School of Trades & Apprenticeship, and Institute for Food Processing Technology, told participants the event aims to address the underrepresentation of women in the trades by encouraging and inspiring more young women to consider the trades as a career choice. She also reminded students they have the opportunity to help address the province’s expected shortage of skilled trades workers over the coming years.

Keynote speaker and trades advocate Mandy Rennehan, founder of Freshco, a full-service reconstruction and retail maintenance provider, and co-founder of RennDuPrat, an interior design firm based in Yarmouth, N.S., shared her story and the experiences she’s had as a woman in the trades.

Read more about Jill of all Trades

Save the date! The 2019 Jill of all Trades event will be held on Thursday, May 30, 2019.

Conestoga Welding Technologist named YWCA Woman of Distinction

Jackie Morris, a Conestoga graduate and part-time faculty member and technologist, has been named a 2018 Woman of Distinction by the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph. Morris was recognized for her role as an educator and mentor to women in the trades at a gala celebration on May 3.

Read more about YMCA Woman of Distinction

Conestoga and Laurier partner for new campus in Milton

Ontario will invest $90 million in a new post-secondary education campus in Milton featuring education and training programs delivered through a partnership between Conestoga and Wilfrid Laurier University.

The announcement was made on April 18 at the Milton Education Village (MEV) Innovation Centre by Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, and Indira Naidoo-Harris, Halton MPP and Minister of Education.

The 150-acre campus will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) programming, and provide up to 2,000 undergraduate spaces in five to 10 years.

Read more about the new campus in Milton

Waterloo Campus Expansion

The Waterloo campus is undergoing a significant expansion that will build our capacity to address the needs of our growing community, foster innovation and create new opportunities for skills development. With this, enhanced institutes for Information Technology, Language Instruction, and Hospitality & Culinary Arts, will greatly expand capacity for programming and applied research. As well, the project will see the enrichment of our full suite of student services, set to enhance the student experience and offer students, newcomers to Canada, job seekers and employers the access to information, programs and services in a single location. The Waterloo expansion is set to be completed in phases, with the first phase opening in September 2018 followed by Phase 2 in January 2019.

Guelph Campus Upgrades

The Guelph campus is undergoing a considerable facade project to modernize the exterior appearance of the campus. With this, important enhancements will take place to improve the structural integrity and energy efficiencies of the aging building. The Guelph facade project is expected to complete in December 2018.

Conestoga Career Centre

Canada-Ontario Job Grant Program available through Conestoga College Career Centre: Develop the technical and the essential skills of new hires and existing employees through the joint federal-provincial training grant. An employer-led initiative that has assisted many businesses equip their workforce with the competencies necessary for current and future work. Don’t delay invest in your workforce! Your company can be eligible for up to 2/3 of the training costs per employee to a maximum of $15,000. Please contact Erika Ellis at 519-885-0300 ext. 5609 or at the Career Centre for more information on funding available for small, medium and large size employers.

Employing Young Talent Incentive available through the Conestoga College Career Centre: Employers interested in training youth between the ages of 15 – 29 years of age, could qualify for incentives up to $2,000 for hiring and retaining a young person employed for an average of 20 hours per week. The Conestoga Career Centre can assist with your hiring and recruitment needs, please contact Erika Ellis at 519-885-0300 ext. 5609 or or Sherri Tryon, Manager for the Conestoga Career Centre at 519-885-0300 ext. 5604 or

Funding is available through Employment Ontario.

Higher Talent. Hire Conestoga

Conestoga is pleased to offer a variety of services designed to help employers with their recruiting and employee assessment and training needs. We invite you to learn how Conestoga can help you find the talent your organization needs. Learn about posting jobs, participating in college-run recruitment events, accessing assessment and training services and opportunities to become more involved with Conestoga.

Learn more about recruitment services.

Motive Power Job Fair 2019

Our annual Motive Power Job Fair will be on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Please watch for further details.

Government-funded Programs

Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) General Carpenter Pre-apprenticeship Program

Conestoga is now accepting applications for the tuition-free Women in Skilled Trades (WIST) General Carpenter Pre-apprenticeship program. WIST is funded by the provincial Ministry of the Status of Women and designed to support low-income women who are unemployed or underemployed. The goal of the program is to prepare candidates for employment within the construction sector. This 34-week program, starting September 2018, prepares students with 26 weeks of in-class practical theory and hands-on experience. The in-class portion of the program is designed to help women secure and succeed in their paid eight-week work placement. WIST helps women gain well-paying full-time careers in the trades, and aims to build self-confidence and provide students with a head-start on achieving apprenticeship certification, if applicable.

Previous experience in trades is not required; however, applicants should have a passion to excel in the program and the physical competence to succeed.

If you are interested in hiring a graduate or know someone who may be interested in applying, please contact Nadine Jannetta at 519-885-0300 ext. 5272 or

Pre-Apprenticeship Truck and Coach/Heavy Duty Equipment Technician Program

Funded by the government of Ontario, this program started in March 2018 at Conestoga’s Guelph campus and will run full-time for 23 weeks. This program includes multiple trade exposure with Truck and Coach Technician, Heavy Duty Equipment Technician, Agricultural Equipment Technician and Powered Lift Truck Technician. Commercial Vehicle common core Level 1 apprenticeship in-class training is also included, giving participants insight, experience and a head-start on achieving apprenticeship certification.

Students will be finished their in-class training on August 31st and will be seeking full-time positions and apprenticeship opportunities. If you would like to discuss the program, hiring a student or the great benefits of apprenticeship, please contact Kristen Goetz at 519-824-9390 or 519-885-0300 ext. 5484 or email

If you have any questions please contact 519-748-5220 ext. 2400 or

Back To Top