The IBEW Offers the Only Approved Trade School for the 631A License

April 16, 2022

Why This Matters to Building a Highly Trained Workforce

The Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development designated the IBEW as an official Training Delivery Agent (TDA) for the network cabling specialist (NCS) apprenticeship program.

Following this designation, the IBEW is now the only approved Trade School in Ontario to offer this training. This is big news for the burgeoning NCS trade and 631A Network Cabling Specialist Certification.

What does TDA mean – and why is it important?

TDA stands for Training Delivery Agent. A Training Delivery Agent is a government-recognized training house that is certified for trades training.

Part of the 631A NCS apprenticeship requires attendance to all trade school levels conducted by the respective Training Delivery Agent.

A very important requirement in our trade is attending trade school. There’s not always time on the job site to train apprentices on everything. Having TDA status ensures that we can address the finer details that sometimes get missed due to time constraints.

The IBEW has the only approved 631A Trade School in Ontario

“We weren’t the first, but we will be the best.”

Brad Watt
Instructor, IBEW

Originally, Ontario colleges provided the courses.   Today, the colleges no longer offer the courses on a regular basis. This led the provincial government to look for a solution outside of formal academic institutions. When the opportunity arose for the IBEW to get official TDA status, it was widely embraced. Who better to teach our workers than the unions they’re employed by?

Four IBEW locals in Ontario are already certified, with the potential for two more on the way. The IBEW has demonstrated success at the provincial level to expand our program and help fill the shortage of skilled workers in this field.

IBEW NCS Program Secures a $4.5 Million Provincial Grant for Training

Trade school is where apprentices go to learn. Without Training Delivery Agents, there is no trade school. And without a trade school, apprentices can’t finish their apprenticeship.

The growing complexities for building requirements created a critical need for qualified network cabling specialists to handle these installations. The need was so great that the Ontario Electrical Industry Training trust Fund (OEITTF) secured a $4.5M provincial grant in 2021 to recruit workers into IBEW-designed NCS training and development programs.

This was incredible news. Having multiple Certified NCS Training Providers across the province helps us reach a large audience. Which in turn allows us to address the skills shortage in the communications sector.

Plus, our training history is second to none. This funding allows the IBEW (through OEITTF) to bolster our training efforts in this space. We’ve made great investments into resources, supervision, and training to effectively educate the next generation in our sector. 

Expanding IBEW Training to Fill the Skills Gap

The program is open to both IBEW members and non-union communications and low voltage workers (application required). Individuals will learn via our IBEW training centers from the top experts in the industry.

The program and funding allow the IBEW to focus on:

  • High-level, hands-on training,
  • Adding new instructors,
  • Investing in state-of-the-art equipment,  
  • Professional training from qualified instructors,
  • Continued commitment to safety,
  • Relevant courses and curriculums, and
  • Enhanced mentorship opportunities to ensure skills and training are passed on.

And this program benefits more than individuals. Contractors will also benefit. It opens the door for ECAO contractors to work with the IBEW to have a workforce trained at state-of-the-art facilities. 

We need a highly trained workforce to keep up with industry advancements and bring consistent provincial standards to the sector. Now that the IBEW is the only approved 631A Trade School in Ontario, we have an opportunity to do just that.

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