FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is partnering with the Learning Disabilities Association of New Brunswick to help apprentices with learning disabilities in their training.

Apprentices now have access through the association to additional assistive technology to support their learning. Assistive technology comes in many forms and refers to any technological device that helps accomplish a task using an enhanced or different method.  

"Everyone learns differently, and this service recognizes that barriers can be overcome with simple, yet effective tools," said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy. "For example, a student who may be excellent in the practical portion of the program may have a learning disability and struggle with the classroom portion. There are types of software and technology that can help break down these barriers to help them succeed."

The provincial government has invested $10,000 to support the association raise awareness about overcoming the challenges that student apprentices with learning disabilities may face during training. The funding will also go toward the purchase of tablets and software to which students will have access. The association will provide training and support to assistive technology users and the staff who work with the apprentices.

"We have always supported students in providing some technological tools, and this partnership adds to the arsenal of tools students can access," said Soucy, "More importantly, the association is able to bring its expertise in the form of targeted training and guidance for students and staff."

About 10 per cent of the population has some form of learning disability. The Apprenticeship Program in New Brunswick has more than 4,000 students registered per year in 54 trades.

"We are pleased to be partnering with the provincial government on this initiative," said André Deschênes, executive director of the association. "Our approach is to customize the assistance for the individual, finding the right match between the technological tool, the challenge and the implementation strategy."

Funding for this partnership is made possible through the Canada-New Brunswick Labour Market Agreement

"This partnership is an example of our government's inclusive philosophy, where strategic investments can have a significant impact in ensuring our students have the educational options, tools and support they need to be successful in the workforce," said Soucy.

More information is available by calling the nearest provincial employment office or by visiting the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour website.