Oldcastle Firm Develops New Fast-track Skills Training

An Oldcastle moldmaking company is leading the way to a new training program for staff.

Unique Tool and Gauge is running an 8-month training program for 9 students from local high schools.

The company developed the program in partnership with the public board's Ontario Youth Apprentice Program (OYAP) and the Dual Credit program at St. Clair College.

Most have come from OYAP courses and 2 are from the college.

Company President Darcy King says they needed to find a way to fast-track people into staff quickly.

Human Resource Manager Chad Thomas says the initial course is already underway.

"Right now we're in the first cycle of the program, and we have 9 individuals.  After the first program is finished, it's about 8 months long, at that point we're going to re-evaluate and see if we could handle more than 8 or 9"

Thomas says the company is dedicating a lot of resources to this initiative.

"We've actually hired an dedicated teacher to be with these students one-on-one all day every day.  We have a set program in place that they would go through with this instructor keeping an eye on them teaching more if they lack in one area and so on.  That would be the difference"

Company President Darcy King says the hope is that this will speed up the skill development of new staff.

"About a year after the apprenticeship is done they should start to become useful added-value employees.  In order to get a really well rounded moldmaker or CNC leader, whatever they may be you're looking at about 4-5 years before they really start to shine"

Thomas says the students are evaluated on a regular basis and they'll receive a certificate upon completion as well as a full time job at the company.

King says they expect the training program will cost in the area of $500,000 a year to operate.

The program participants will learn and develop skills over a broad range of disciplines, including Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, computer-based mold design, electrical discharge machine (EDM) operation, critical tolerance machining operations and mold construction.