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Centennial College to let apprenticeship training contract in Saudi Arabia lapse

Autobody lab at Centennial College

Centennial College will not be renewing an apprenticeship training contract it is delivering in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia when it lapses on April 13, 2016.

Centennial College commenced training in Saudi Arabia as an adjunct to the successful contract the college’s School of Transportation had with General Motors Middle East. As with all of its international work, Centennial adhered to the strict business practices required by the Ontario government in relation to contract procurement and entrepreneurial activities, and complied with the rules and regulations required by the Saudi Arabian authorities, including partnering with a local entity to help deliver the training.

Contrary to media reports, Centennial College did not - and would never - bar women from entering the program in Saudi Arabia. Training eligibility is determined solely by the employer, and not by the college. Students in the apprenticeship program are referred for training by their employers, a process that is identical to what occurs in apprenticeship programs in Ontario.

It is unlikely that there are any women in the automotive field in Saudi Arabia - ironically, the same situation the industry faced in Canada decades ago. Even now, the percentage of women in the automotive trades in Canada remains stubbornly low. Centennial is proud to serve a diverse student group that reflects its communities, and the college will continue to encourage, recruit and support women in the skilled trades.

Apprenticeship training in Saudi Arabia represents an immaterial portion of the international activity that Centennial College leads all over the world. Centennial continues to welcome students from Saudi Arabia at its Toronto-area campuses to experience the richness of a Canadian education.