Introducing membership at a long-established organization is never easy and this is especially so at the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, which has a broad range of stakeholders with diverse needs and expectations when it comes to supporting Canada’s apprenticeship community. Since the June 2012 launch, we have had countless requests for updates and information. I hope this provides our partners, collaborators and friends with some insight about our progress.
First, the back story – the federal program that has been funding CAF-FCA operations since 2000 is being wound down. This doesn’t reflect any deficiency – CAF-FCA is consistently recognized for strong results, excellent resources and outstanding partnerships. Rather, we are seeing a shift in government priorities and a desire to get away from funding operational costs at non-profit organizations. At the same time, there is considerable interest in apprenticeship and the skilled trades from all levels of government. Skills shortages in the trades are hot topic and, like CAF-FCA, there are many organizations across Canada busier than ever responding to the demand.
Regardless, operations cost money and the loss of funding represents a significant challenge. Since June, CAF-FCA staff, Directors and partners have been working diligently to identify Apprenticeship Champions, Patrons and Supporters. CAF-FCA’s Board of Directors recently agreed that our progress is encouraging – with almost 100 early adopters stepping forward in the first six months of the campaign – and confirmed its intentions to continue operations. We have the great pleasure of identifying a number of these organizationson our website and I thank every one of them wholeheartedly. I look forward to working with our members to ensure their faith and support is rewarded in spades.
We need to continue to build support over the coming months. Early indicators are good, but we haven’t yet achieved reached a level to ensure long-term sustainability. Thankfully, we have a large potential membership base of passionate apprenticeship advocates. We need to keep spreading the word and building on a foundation of solid relationships.
In addition to membership, CAF-FCA will continue to pursue project funding and sponsorships. This will allow us to continue to generate ground-breaking apprenticeship research, facilitate ongoing connections among stakeholders, and promote apprenticeship among employers, youth and educators.
That’s the update on the first six months. I’ll look forward providing more in the coming months.