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The program is completely free. All we require is that you show up on time for class every day and give the program your undivided attention.
Training takes place in Esquimalt in an electrical contractor’s shop. The classes are Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. A half hour lunch break and two 10-minute coffee breaks are provided.
You will be notified 3 weeks prior to the start date of the program by phone call. If you do not hear from us in that time, please give us a call or email.
You will be sent an email by a program staff member with all information regarding the first day of class. Everything you will need for the program and to get you started on the job will be provided to you (this includes steel-toe boots, workwear and a premium Klein electrical toolkit).
Class sizes range from 10 people to 12 people.
The doors are opened by 8am and the day starts with breakfast and coffee in the classroom. After breakfast, the instructional portion begins at 8:30. There may be some time spent learning about theory, equipment and supplies. Most of the day is spent in the shop working on projects such as installing receptacles, wiring lights and plugs, bending pipe and splicing wire. Some days will be focused around safety (see list of certificates below).
Certificates included in the program: Fall Protection, Aerial Work Platform, Workplace Hazardous Materials Identification System, Occupational First Aid Level One, Lock Out Tag Out, Electrical Safety Hazards, Ladder Safety.
You will not be paid for the 3 weeks of training. You will begin earning a wage once you start working, after you have successfully completed the program and have been dispatched to an IBEW Signatory Contractor.
You may be dispatched within days of finishing training or it could take several weeks. This depends on several factors.
The starting wage for a pre-apprentice (on commercial jobsites) is currently $16.26 with a raise to $18.29 after working, full-time for 6 months and $22.35 after 12 months. This is based off the IBEW collective agreement and are not negotiable. There are slightly lower rates on residential jobsites and higher rates on industrial jobsites. The dispatcher will confirm your rate of pay when you take the call.
Your dispatch is not determined until successful completion of the program and is decided by the IBEW Construction Representative in your area, in accordance with fluctuating levels of demand for low-term apprentices. Dispatch priority is determined on a basis of level of need and also contractor request. For this reason, it is imperative that you disclose information on your financial and personal circumstances which might affect your dispatch to the WJETS team as soon as possible.
You will be working as an IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – Union) Pre-apprentice. What this means is that the IBEW will be dispatching you to work for an IBEW contractor. There are several contractors you may end up working for. For example, if you live in Victoria and the surrounding areas, you can be anywhere from Sidney to Sooke to Duncan. It is up to you to get yourself to work on time every day.
The union is responsible for dispatching you to work and ensuring you are working in a safe environment. The union acts as a connection between the employer and the employee. Once you are dispatched to work by the union, you will begin to pay union dues (approximately $83 and typically comes off your paycheque). While working in the union, you are entitled to health benefits after a qualification period. You will be on probation for the first year, after which time you will be considered for membership and will be eligible to contribute to a pension.
WJETS, or Western JETS, is the Western Joint Electrical Training Society. WJETS is responsible for the electrical training for Local Unions 230, 993 and 1003. While the Construction Foundation of BC manages the recruitment for the WATT Program, WJETS is responsible for training and liaising with the Local Unions. Your primary contact at WJETS will be Yvonne Westcott 250-415-4425.
Apprenticeship sponsorship begins immediately after successful completion of the program and dispatch to work. All your apprenticeship hours are tracked and held by the union. At the end of your 3-week training, you will sign up for your first level of technical training which will take place at your local college or training centre and is 10 weeks long.
If for some reason you start the program and are unable to finish, a meeting will be conducted to determine why you are not finishing and what we can do going forward. Depending on the circumstances there is a chance you can go back into the program later in a different cohort. This is determined on a case by case basis.
If you do not get into your desired cohort and are still interested in participating in a later program, please inform a staff member that you would like to be considered for future cohorts.
Being on the waitlist means that you will be considered for the program if someone drops out before the program starts. Being on the waitlist means you will be considered for the next program, it does not guarantee you a seat.
If there are any changes to your situation that may affect your participation in the program please inform the program staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 250-940-3246 immediately.
Please inform us of any of the following changes:
Please note: Staff endeavour to respond to all communication within 24 hours. The same is expected of participants. Failure to respond to program communications within 48 hours could result in the loss of a seat in the program.