Pre-Apprenticeship Programs

Pre-apprenticeship Courses

Pre-apprenticeship Courses are courses designed to introduce prospective apprentices to the skilled trades.  many are designed for specific groups that are not usually represented in the skilled trades such as women, aboriginals, and people from different ethnic backgrounds.  Some are designed to help integrate people with barriers to employment such as drug or alcohol addictions into gaining productive employment.

The Trade Winds to Success program in Edmonton is an example of such a program.  Here is a report in the Edmonton Journal.




Adult Online

Technology and Adult Education in 2020
Jerome Johnston, Director
Project IDEAL support Center • University of Michigan

In exploring trends in adult education I could not get over how the Internet is having such an incredible impact on the field of education.   In the early 1980’s I took a distance education course from Athabasca Univerisity.  Then we used the mail to submit assignments and the telephone for tutoring support.  Today we have e-mentoring or telementoring which my partner and I explored at great depth,  e-books that allow instant access to text books and save learners money, and a multitude of online courses and curriculums.

With advances in broadband internet, more and more wifi hotspots and the upgrades happening in cell phone technology we now have 24/7 access to the incredible resources of the Internet at our finger tips.  These new technologies will only boost the impact of the internet and intensify the effect of online education.

How ready are instructors and educators to make effective use this learning revolution?  One way we can find out is by using the self assessment tools available at adultedonline.  The site has self assessment tools for both instructors and administrators to find out how tech savvy they are and to assess their potential and abilities to teach distance education.  There is also an extensive list of links to online resources for people interested in this field.

I have set up an account but I think until I am further on in the PIDP program before I take the self assessment.

Adult Online Education



The rise of the Internet and the popularity of Social Networking Sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Twitter illustrate how humans now have established a new place for engaging with others and forming communities – on the Internet.  For many of us the relationships that we have developed online carry as much importance for us as the physical relationships we have in our lives. New technologies such as smart phones, texting, instant messaging, and video conferencing give us instant access to the Internet and allow us to instantly communicate with people across the globe. All around us we see people, especially young people, interacting with their cell phones while ignoring the world around them. As educators one question we should be asking ourselves is how can we take advantage of this phenomenon in order to reach our students and enhance their learning experience?

Mentoring is a concept that goes back to ancient Greece, “Odysseus, leaving for battle asked his female friend, the goddess of wisdom Athena, to take on the male form of Mentor to watch and guide his son Telemachus while he was away” Hansman, C. A. Mentoring: From Athena to the 21st Century (2002). Traditionally an older, more experienced person would take a younger person under their wing and guide them in their career or through their education. It is a concept that is employed in the work place, educational institutes and many other organizations. One of the drawbacks of the traditional mentoring relationship was the demands it put on the mentors time and the constraints of geographical location. Telementoring is a modern day solution to the problem.

Telementoring serves the same function as the traditional forms of mentoring but instead of face to face meetings or physical work relationships it relies on the Internet to connect mentors and protégés. This allows for wider possibilities for interaction as time and place are no longer barriers. Telementoring uses email, instant messaging and video conferencing to develop the mentor/protégé relationship. In the early years of telementoring the primary means of communication was through email. Text based and asynchronus it allows communication to occur at any time. Once restricted by access to a computer modern day smart phones allow mentor and protégés to keep in touch with one another almost instantly through both texting and email.

Telementoring is also well suited to the modern day work place. With the rise of the global economy, workplaces are now located around the world. With the rise of telecommuting, workers are dispersed and isolated, traditional mentoring relationships are harder to initiate and maintain. Telementoring allows protégés to access a wider pool of potential mentors. It also allows for people of different cultures to relate and learn from one another. This is becoming increasingly important for a country like Canada that is becoming more multicultural and more ethnically diverse.

One of the drawbacks of telementoring is that mentoring is a very interpersonal relationship and text based communication lacks the intonation and body language clues that we gain in face to face meetings. Advances in computer technology and the ability of the internet to stream content has made video conferencing which allows real time conferencing for mentors and protégés and so a they can develop a more personal relationship. But technology is only as good as the people who use it. One of the ways to insure success for a telementoring program is mentor training, “the training of mentors is vital to the success of a mentoring program” Nichols, R. J., & Amick, B. T. (1995). The case for instructional mentoring. That is why I was excited to read “The Telementor’s Guidebook” by O’Neill, D. K. (2000).

This guidebook originated with the author’s work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois as part of project called Learning Through Collaborative Visualization (CoVis) and continued in collaboration with the CSILE/Knowledge-Building team at the University of Toronto.

The main research for the guidebook is a series of interviews with 13 volunteer mentors who were involved with mentoring high school science students. Their primary goal was to assist the students with an in-depth, extensive science investigation over a period of time. This is sometimes referred to as Project-Based Telementoring.

I chose this publication because I found it one of the few resources that gives practical advice drawn from real life mentoring experiences. Although it is somewhat limited in its scope as it studies  to the mentoring experiences of high school science students, I feel that the lessons that the author presents can be useful in any mentoring experience. It is also written in a way that it is accessible to the non-academic community.  Drawing on real life experiences the guidebook stresses the importance of establishing a good rapport between mentor and protégé, the importance of early and timely involvement, that one strategy does not fit every mentoring relationship, and discusses how much help a mentor should give a protégé.

The rapid advancement in technologies, the dramatic changes in the workplace, and educator’s increasing familiarity with technology will see an increase in the use of telementoring and e-mentoring.  This will necessitate the need for further study and education of mentors in this process to assure successful mentoring relationships.  This guidebook is a step in that direction.


Mott, V. W., & Ellinger, A. D. (2002). Critical perspectives on mentoring: Trends and issues. C. A. Hansman (Ed.). ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Center on Education and Training for Employment, College of Education, the Ohio State University.

Nichols, Richard J. and Amick, Beverley T., “The Case for Instructional Mentoring” (1995). To Improve the Academy. Paper 339.

O’Neill, D. K. (2000). The telementor’s guidebook. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto


Mentoring – A New Approach

The concept of mentoring goes all the way back to ancient Greece when Odysseus asked Athena to take on the form of Mentor and guide his son Telemachus while he was away at the siege of Troy.  Over the years this has been an important relationship for apprentices wishing to learn a trade as older journeymen take on the role of teachers and guides encapsulated in the concept of mentorship.  Mentoring is also an important role that teachers and instructors in adult education can play in the lives of their students as this can be done outside of the classroom and after the student has graduated from the institution of learning.

Mentoring is also important to successful organizations wishing to educate and develop their employees.  Traditionally junior employees would look to one senior employee to act as a sponsor and guide them in their career.  In this article Drs. Kram and Higgins, two of the foremost researchers into the role of mentors discuss how the role of mentors is changing in our rapidly transforming society.

Athena and Telemachus
Athena and Telemachus

Demographic Trends for High School Students

Industrial societies face an increasingly dire demographic challenge as their populations age.  These challenges pose many demands on the educational system. A report from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)  forecasts trends in high school graduate rates in the U.S.  It finds that the number of white high school graduates has peaked and that any growth will come from student with Hispanic and Asian-American/Pacific Islander backgrounds.

Growth rates for individual states fluctuate wildly, there is declining enrolment in the north east sector of the country and growing enrolment in the south west.  The report does not predict a drop off in students seeking a higher education as states increase their efforts to enrol more students in colleges and universities.  Also this is the only way that students can be assured of a comfortable future life.

In an article by Greg Melleuish in The Australian he argues that one of the most significant development of the last ten years is that students are staying in school longer.  He wonders how Australia will be able to support an aging population along with a larger population of “emerging adults” who are attending school.

In his view  “Policy should focus on skills attainment, not the acquisition of a piece of paper by a certain proportion of the population.”  He feels that universities are better at training bureaucrats than entrepreneurs.

Both articles describe a rapidly changing world in which adult educators will have an increasingly important role.


Adult Education in Wales

Here in an interesting anomaly from Wales.  Despite an increase in investment in Adult Community Learning from 4.96m pounds in 2006-07 to 6.02m pounds in 2012-13, the number of contact hours dropped from 3.6 million in 2003-04 to 2.1 million in 2011-12. This is a  23% decrease from the number of post-16 learners from 2005-06 to 2010-11 in a climate of high unemployment in Britain.

Some reasons given were lack of relevant courses, demands on tutors and the difficult economic situation.  I think what is interesting about this article is that governments must look at more than just funding levels when designing adult learning and review all the factors that impact on the participation of adults in accessing community learning.

Adult Learning in Wales

‘Encore’ Careers

The baby boomer generation is rapidly aging.  The latest U.S. Census reports that 78 million Americans are approaching retirement age generally thought of as 65.  With the demise of traditional defined benefit pension plans and many people with inadequate savings, more people are choosing to retrain and begin new careers, an encore career.

The following article describes how this can be an opportunity and how North Carolina is promoting and encouraging people wishing to pursue a new career path

Seniors Learning 2