Island apprentices will be able to continue their in-school training, even if they don't have an employer connection.

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(Holland College)

The P.E.I. government has introduced a one-year pilot program for apprentices who have begun their in-school training process, but haven't found an employer to hire them while they learn their trade.  

In a news release, officials with the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning say they believe this is one of the first programs of its kind in Canada.

The pilot program allows registered apprentices in any province to enrol in one block of in-school training offered through the PEI Apprenticeship Section, without needing an employer connection.

Previously, apprentices had to have an employer connection to continue with training.

Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown says, in a news release, that the need for apprentices to have an employer has been a barrier for some.

"This flexibility will provide apprentices with the opportunity to increase their training and become more attractive to Island employers to secure that employer attachment for the future," said Brown in the release.

"We're thrilled to be able to connect apprentices with potential employers, while at the same time, helping them develop the required skills necessary to obtain sustainable work."

Department officials said in the release, that the program could benefit Islanders who began apprenticeship training in western Canada but have been laid off.

They will now be able to return to P.E.I. to continue with their training and try and find an employer during or after the in-school training.

The one-year pilot program has been approved by the PEI Apprenticeship Board. It will be monitored and evaluated by program staff over the next year.