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In response to Federal and Provincial requirements for COVID-19, we are adapting training dates and class sizes as the situation unfolds.

We will continue to accept applications and will conduct interviews by phone or video message only. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you have.

Thank you for your interest in the WATT program.

Workplace Alternative Trades Training

In the face of the labour market skills shortage for electricians, Western JETS and the IBEW identified a need for accessible applied electrical skills training that would lead to employment. WATT was developed to fill that need. Electrical contractors also saw the value in WATT and support participants through employment. WATT is designed specifically for individuals who can not easily access Electrical Foundations courses but have a desire to become an electrician. The program is funded in part by The Government of Canada’s Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness Program and aims to increase accessibility to electrical apprenticeships and reduce barriers for Youth, Women, Indigenous, and Newcomers to better support a skilled, inclusive, certified and productive electrical trades workforce by improving the efficiency and efficacy of pre-apprenticeship training provided.

Workplace Alternative Trades Training (WATT) is a collaboration between the Western Joint Electrical Training Society (Western JETS), IBEW Locals 230, 993 and 1003, and the Construction Foundation of British Columbia.

HOW IT WORKS

Start your career in Electrical with WATT: The 3-week WATT program will give you the hands-on, employer-verified electrical training you need for a successful start to your career.

During your FREE 3-week training you will:

  • Be certified in:
  • Occupational First Aid Level 1
  • Fall Protection
  • Elevated Work Platform
  • WHIMIS 2015
  • Construction Safety Training Systems-09
  • Lock Out Tag Out
  • Electrical Safety
  • Be More than a Bystander
  • Learn hands-on skills employers have identified as valuable on the work site.

You will also:

  • Be provided with an Independent Learning Plan (ILP) and support in Essential Skills upgrading throughout your pre-apprenticeship to help you prepare for your Level 1 training.
  • Be provided with your basic tools and steel-toe boots required to start your career as an electrician.
  • Have access to additional supports as required, as well as breakfast and lunch on classroom days.
  • Have basic living expenses and transportation covered if travelling for training.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

You have had your interview - what's next?

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.

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.

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.

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 watt@wjets.ca

Please inform us of any of the following changes:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Mailing and/or living address
  • Transportation (ex. Vehicle and/or license changes)
  • Employment or change of heart
  • Income Assistance or EI
  • Acceptance to a Foundations program
  • Change in financial circumstances or need

Congratulations - You've been Accepted!

You may have a few questions that can be answered here:

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).

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.

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.

More Information

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.

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