Camosun College Trades Students Experience Professional Development in Germany

The collaborative effort is part of the German Apprenticeship Training Exchange (GATE), a pioneering initiative fostering cross-cultural understanding and professional development within the trades and technology sectors.

The reciprocal exchange of apprenticeship training signals a new and growing relationship between Camosun College and Städtische Berufsschule in Regensburg, Germany. In May 2023, four German students and an instructor attended a two-week customized program at Camosun to experience Canadian industry and education practices.

“The exchange trip was an eye-opening experience,” says Camosun student, Sara Gallinger, who graduated from the Fine Furniture program and is a current Carpentry student.

Camosun carpentry instructor Al Van Akker also notes the different attitudes toward the woodworking and construction trades between the two countries. “In Canada, we emphasize speed and productivity,” he says. “In Germany, there’s a greater emphasis on quality and longevity. Students toured buildings that are over 800 years old and have survived since medieval times. It’s something that will stay with them as they embark on their trades careers.”

When many people think about educational exchange programs, they tend to think of business, humanities or language programs, not trades or technology. Fine furniture instructor Sandra Carr reminds us that Red Seal, the highest trades credential, is internationally recognized. Global partnerships for the trades make sense.

“I hope this fosters more international labour-based exchanges,” Sandra says. “This kind of opportunity broadens students’ scope of what they’re capable of and what they can do when they finish their education.”

With a successful inaugural trades exchange between Germany and Canada in the books, it’s likely that there will be more opportunities for students and instructors in the future. This achievement was made possible with support from the Joachim Herz Stiftung Foundation’s GATE program and from Global Skills Opportunity, funded by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Original article from Camosun College