Your opinion wanted for new straw bale apprenticeship program

The apprenticeship committee of the OSBBC has made two surveys available about the development of a straw bale sub-trade apprenticeship program for installing and plastering bale walls. Please help out by providing your opinions about a potential apprenticeship program for straw bale wall systems and (possibly) other natural building systems.

For professionals (those who have led 3 or more straw bale projects) please fill out this survey:

For potential apprentices, please fill out this survey:

Please complete this survey by May 30, 2011 to have your input counted!

1 comment to Your opinion wanted for new straw bale apprenticeship program

  • Maurice Poulin

    Hello, my name is Maurice Poulin and have been involved in strawbale projects for close to ten years now. I do not call myself an expert by any stretch. I’m trained as a timber frame, log builder, cabinet maker and heat & frost insulator. The skills that offer you today come from working fourteen years as a Training Consultant with the Minsitry of Training Colleges and Universities. I’ve since left the ministry where I administered the apprenticehsip program and worked on the development of several new trades and modular occupations under the TQAA and ACA. I’m very unclear with your terminology of “sub-trade”. Trades are either compulsory or voluntary, they will have a regulation, schedule of training or apprenticeship training standards. Trades will either fall into the Trades Quailification and Apprenticeship Act where they are hourly based or now the majority go under the ACA which is based on mastering skill sets and is not time based. I would suggest that you begin by contacting the MTCU Program Standards Division and explore your options underthe ACA and go beyond a sub-trade and the restrictions of straw and plaster. The trade of general carpentry is a voluntary trade and they do not own the rights to concrete and framing. In my own trades I certainly would never let a general carpenter on my site to undertake layout and cutting of a timber frame or log building as they have no training or skill sets in this application. The framing in a modified post and beam infill application or a timber fame wrap around strawbale application are completely foreign to general capenters. Traditional concrete and foundation workers have a difficult time with post load applications in timberframing and know nothing about earthen floors and most do not understand the requirements of a thickened slab necessary for the bales. Strawbale constrution has many skill sets and applications to offer the trades. So, please do not short change and under sell the value and skills involved as demonstrated by the hard working practionners in this trade today. So few of us actually only do straw and plaster. Most of us are involved in the complete build and those who are not want to learn the rest of the trade. So, if you are going to go to all of the trouble of getting a schedule of training or an apprenticeship training standards developed and than progressively get three levels of in-school curriculum developed than let’s make it something to be proud of. In closure, if you need north western Ontario perspective to volunteers and participate in this project than I’d be happy to assist you depending on the time requirement and travel costs. I have a lot to offer and I can easly work through the government apprenticeship bureaucracy since I used to be part of it.