By: Sabrina Bedford

Algonquin’s trade programs have been named one of the top 10 in Ontario.

Chill magazine, a free-distribution publication available at Beer Store locations, listed Algonquin’s skilled trades among the best in the province, highlighting its aviation techniques, construction engineering technician and motive power technician programs.

This latest accolade comes after Algonquin reported a 68 per cent rise in applicants to the trades programs this year. It is one of the larger trade schools in Ontario and is the seventh largest in Canada.

Chill magazine features regular columns and seasonal features, and according to its website, features a number of Canada’s most “prolific leisure, lifestyle, entertainment, travel, business and sports writers.”

Jack Kohane, “Big Business Chillosopher” at Chill, was responsible for choosing the schools for the list, said there were three main factors when considering which schools to choose.

“I wanted sources representing different areas of the province rather than focusing on the schools in the GTA,” Kohane said.

“I approached a number of schools for this report and the ones who were quickest to respond and actually wanted to participate in the article and set up interviews for me in short order. First among them was Algonquin, [and this] went into my selection of sources.”

Kohane said perhaps the most significant factor that went into consideration was impact of the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence (ACCE) at the Woodroffe campus.

“The opening of the new ACCE at Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ottawa was newsworthy and of real significance to those interested in learning the trades.”

Christopher Hahn, the academic chair for the construction trades and building system department, said the ACCE certainly helps to set the college apart.

“The building design has already won numerous accolades and awards,” he said. “Recently it was awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum designation. The ACCE combines the themes of inter-disciplinary education, sustainability and living lab (the use of the building itself as a teaching tool) to give students a unique educational experience.”

While he says the ACCE itself helps Algonquin continue as a leader is trades training, it’s the faculty that sets the college apart.

“They are extremely talented and dedicated,” he said. “Here in ACCE for example we have our talented faculty all working on the same floor collaborating together to bring students the best from their disciplines for all the students inside ACCE to benefit.”

Trades programs aren’t limited to the programs offered in the ACCE, says Hahn, adding that the faculty in all different trades are dedicated to making a difference.

“Take a trip to the transportation building and you will see truck and coach apprentices, automotive service technician apprentices and students in the motive power technician program working together,” he said. “In the kitchen, cook apprentices work alongside culinary students.

“It is this method of connected delivery that helps set us apart.”

Jimi Leach, a first-year student in the advanced housing carpentry program, agrees the staff of the college is very helpful and hands on, and says he’s confident of his choice to attend Algonquin.

“Algonquin is a good school for the trades because it’s very hands on and the learning environment is quite unique,” he said.

“Smaller class sizes make understanding what you are actually building a lot easier.”