Twenty-one students have enrolled in the Level 1 Commercial Vehicle and Equipment Apprenticeship Program at the former Kemptville Campus. The class took a short break to gather for a group photo in front of one of the tractors they will eventually be learning about. Morin Photo

Sandy Casselman
Record Staff

KEMPTVILLE – Tuesday, October 12 was an exciting day for 21 students at the former Kemptville College Campus as the Upper Canada School Board launched its Level 1 Commercial Vehicle and Equipment Apprenticeship Program.

The new 10-week training program will be taught through the TR Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education at the Kemptville Campus Education and Community Centre in Kemptville, located in the former college’s heavy equipment building. It is the ideal place for students to take the first steps in their journey towards a rewarding career working on trucks, tractors and vehicles.

The program is available for qualified students enrolled in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) or who are working toward completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

The course is a ten-week program. The course is a combination of online instruction and at the same time a teacher is in the room as the class works through course material.

Teacher Anthony MacKay is leading the class.

MacKay explained that each student has a laptop and can access the course from anywhere there is internet. In the case of a snow day, for example, this ensures students will not fall behind.

“The program is about 60 per cent theoretical and about 40 per cent practical,” said MacKay.

The course has proved to be a popular one with a waiting list already being compiled for next year.

MacKay said the program’s industry partners have been extremely supportive. “ We have almost $300,000 worth of donations.”

The donations come in the form of engines, trucks and buses, tools and tractors.

“Our industry partners have put on a good push for this program to take place,” he said.

The program received donations of equipment from Rush Truck Centres, Valley Bus Lines, Weagant Farm Supply Ltd., Napa, Universal Supply, Matco Tools, Snap-On Tools, Valvoline and Brockville Tractor Trailer Maintenance (2001) Ltd.

The arrangement of having a classroom surrounded by the equipment the class will be learning about is that whenever the theory aspect of the course becomes confusing the object of the theory is right in the class waiting to be looked at from a hands on perspective.

MacKay said the program is designed to accommodate any and all of the different ways that people learn.

While Oct. 12 marked the first day of classes for the 21 students enrolled in the course, the UCDSB, in partnership with Kemptville Campus, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario, and le Conseil des écoles catholiques due Centre-Est, hosted a grand opening late last month. The Sept. 29 event saw not only the partners in attendance, but also local dignitaries and the public.

Those listed to speak during the grand opening event were provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark, as well as North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford, UCDSB Chair John McAllister, and Parliamentary Assistant Deepak Anand, who was there representing Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training, and Skills Development, and Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton.

“Establishing this program has been a true collaborative effort among all local school boards and Kemptville Campus,” UCDSB superintendent of schools Susan Rutters said. “We look forward to supporting the learning of this first group of apprentices and to expanding opportunities for apprenticeship training at this site in the future.”

In addition to qualified students enrolled in the OYAP, the new Level 1 Commercial Vehicle and Equipment Apprenticeship program is also available to students who are working toward completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and who are also interested in completing a co-op or enroll in OYAP. The class takes a maximum of 20 students and currently there are 20 students enrolled from each of the four participating school boards.

“The UCDSB remains an avid believer in hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that align with our mission to prepare students for a successful life,” McAllister said. “This program emulates that belief and we’re so excited to now see it in action.”

The Level 1 Commercial Vehicle and Equipment Apprenticeship program at Kemptville Campus provides students with a chance to gain knowledge and skills through in-class learning, as well as with practical experiences specific to the three motive power trades included in the program, which are Agricultural Equipment Technician, Heavy Duty Equipment Technician, and Truck and Coach Technician.

“I am so please to recognize the innovation and collaboration that has allowed for this fantastic opportunity in North Grenville,” Clark said. “We know from the industry that early exposure to apprenticeships at the high school level generates greater interest and higher number of apprenticeship registrations and completions.”

For more information on this program, visit the TR Leger website ( For more information about what’s happening at Kemptville Campus, visit the Education and Community Centre’s website (