Rapid Upskilling & Reskilling For In-demand Industry Jobs

Originally published on Future Skills Canada

Many industrial sectors across Canada are experiencing huge disruption with the advent of new technologies and automation, and most are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers. Using rapid upskilling and reskilling, Work-Based Learning (WBL) programs help diverse job seekers – especially those in underrepresented groups such as women and new Canadians – to find or transition to in-demand skilled jobs in industrial sectors. The programs allow:

  • unskilled/semi-skilled job seekers and skilled workers in transition to get hired
  • current employees to acquire industry-valued skills and achieve recognized certification
  • employers to meet their critical skills needs, efficiently and reliably.

Training / Career Services Provided

The WBLC worked-based learning model circumvents traditional CV-based recruitment approaches. It maps competencies for target jobs, identifies candidates who have been or are at risk of being displaced, refers them for interviews and delivers theoretical knowledge and on-the-job training so people can obtain an industry-recognized credential. Employees ‘earn while they learn’.

Early Results

Since early 2014, over 60 advanced manufacturing employers in Ontario have partnered with WBLC to hire and train unskilled job seekers or upskill current workers or those in transition – a total of more than 650 employees – for skilled jobs at entry-level or mid-level, with a success rate of over 85%.

In the initial phase of the project, WBLC and the Canadian Association of Mold Makers partnered to upskill displaced workers, providing training needed to fill vacancies in mold-making and injection-molding trades in Kitchener-Waterloo and the GTA where companies reported a skilled worker shortage. That initiative helped transition 24 mid-career workers to new or ongoing full-time, permanent employment as skilled workers.

Next Phase

WBLC and its partners are expanding the range of industrial sectors and the provinces in which the value of rapid upskilling will be shown via four (4) new WBL Programs.  WBLC will also implement ‘rapid upskilling’ via accelerated delivery of three (3) existing, proven WBL programs for skilled jobs in advanced manufacturing.

In addition, this project will develop and implement three training innovations:

  • a systematic process to identify the employers’ needs to upskill/reskill their employees and meet their skills shortages
  • structured Competency Gap Coaching to bridge non-technical competency gaps (transversal skills) for current skilled employees
  • an AI-driven Technical Workplace Language Fluency training to assist immigrants and workers in transition in advanced manufacturing workplaces.

Happy Holidays

Wishing all our partners, companies that work with us, and trainees a very happy 2021 holiday season.

CNC Machinist Level 1 Program – Hiring For Spring 2021 In The GTA!

The Work Based Learning Consortium is now recruiting candidates for its CNC Machinist [Level 1] Selection and Learning Program.

The start date is mid February 2021 in the Greater Toronto Area.

We encourage female candidates to apply. Candidates need to have basic experience in a manufacturing environment, but prior CNC experience is not required. Wages start at $20+.

To learn more about the program and how to apply, visit the Info For Job Seekers page.

WBLC Launches Blended MMT e-Learning Program

Eight excited and highly motivated trainees were onboarded to our first Blended e-Learning program in January to become Mold Maintenance Technicians.

Mold Maintenance Technician Program

The program offers interested candidates the opportunity to learn and improve their technical knowledge in the basic manufacturing and theorical Technical Learning Outcomes expected of a certified Mold Maintenance Technician [ Level 1], prior to being interviewed by an interested employer.

The learning duration is 2 to 3 months to complete the program. In addition to their individual work, trainers meet virtually with their e-Learning instructor on a weekly basis. The instructor is technically very experienced in both mold and machining as well as e-Learning instruction.  At specified times, trainees complete e-Learning tests and take certification exams.

Trainees can expect to work on their e-Learning modules for less than 1 hour per week at the beginning of the program. The time commitment expands to 2-3 hours per week after that. In addition, the e-Learning classroom instruction sessions take approximately one hour a week. Trainees can schedule their time to complete the e-Learning modules at their own convenience. The e-Learning classroom instruction session is conducted at a fixed time each week it is scheduled.

Benefits of the Program

The benefits for the trainees are:

  • they receive certification by WBLC, an industry developed and recognized program
  • the program increases their employability as Mold Maintenance Technicians
  • the program improves prospects in the advanced manufacturing sector.

Congratulations Harry Garoian – Mold Maintenance Technician

Harry Garoian is the first graduate to have completed the Mold Maintenance Technician [Level 1] Training Program.

The program helps job seekers learn in-demand skills, get paid on-the-job training, which leads to great stable jobs at Canadian advanced manufacturing companies.

Upon receiving his certificate, Harry said:

“I am delighted to have passed and been certified as a Mold Maintenance Technician [Level 1] by WBLC. As a mid-career worker, it is especially significant to my employer and myself that I successfully completed the program with distinction. I want to thank Peter Drews my Monitor/Coach for his advice and support. Thank you WBLC for the opportunity.”

MP Tool President, AIi Tontonchian said of the program:

“I think the program is good. It was developed specifically to help our industry and the trade in a very practical way. The next step is to build a base and expand it with the other local employers .”

Kim Thiara. President, AceTronic Industrial Controls INC. and Toronto Chapter Chair of CAMM, stated:

Having the opportunity to have had a small part in the creation of this program has been extremely gratifying.  As the Toronto Chapter Chair of CAMM, it is our commitment to ensure our industry continues to thrive and flourish well into the future.  The Mold Maintenance Technician Program is just one step closer to this goal. We are grateful to WBLC for seeing this come to fruition.

AIi Tontonchian (President, MP Tools President), Harry Garoian, and Blair Munro (Trianer, MP Tools)


WBLC has trained and certified approximately 600 employees for Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector. Currently WBLC is conducting two programs – Mold Maintenance Technician [level 1] Selection and Learning Program and our CNC Machinist [Level 1] Program. Both are active with their in-takes commencing in October and November.

Detailed information about other programs and services that WBLC is providing can be found at  workbasedlearning.ca/programs