Apprenticeship is a program offered through the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU), which provides the opportunity for an individual to work while receiving training. Most of the training happens on the job, but the apprentice also completes courses offered through an approved community college or training organization. After completing training, the apprentice receives a Certificate of Apprenticeship. MTCU will pay approximately 80 per cent of the registration fees for courses taken by an apprentice towards a Certificate of Apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is available for a number of trades and professions. In June 2008, MTCU approved an apprenticeship for the developmental services worker (DSW) profession.
The developmental services worker is a highly sought-after professional who can obtain meaningful employment supporting people with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, physical challenges or other special needs, along with their families. Career options for the DSW graduate include residential counsellor, educational assistant, preschool resource staff, day program counsellor with adults or seniors, and recreation integration worker. Emotional maturity, good interpersonal skills and a commitment to community integration are qualities needed by developmental services workers.
The DSW Apprenticeship program is available to all staff working in developmental service, agencies or other organizations such as school boards that provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.
*The program consists of 22 courses that are offered in several locations, including Toronto, Peel Region, Halton Region, and Dufferin Region. Courses can be offered in a variety of ways such as one day per week, one evening per week, one week at a time, etc. As well, the courses are delivered in a variety of formats such as classroom, distance education via the Internet, and videoconferencing. The pattern of courses, which the student and his or her agency choose, will affect how long it takes to complete the certificate. A reasonable estimate is two to three years.
This program has partnerships with an extensive list of agencies whose staff are participating in apprenticeships, including Bob Rumball Associations for the Deaf, Brampton-Caledon Community Living, Central West Specialized Developmental Services, Christian Horizons, Community Living Dufferin, Community Living Oakville, Community Living Toronto, Kerry's Place, META Centre, Montage Support Services and Vita Community Living Services.
Graduates receive a Certificate of Apprenticeship from Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning.