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Ontario needs to train next generation for jobs that don’t exist yet

By Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance   

Skills Development apprenticeship training Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance skilled trades skills

– Ontario will need to get far more creative if it’s going to prepare young people for jobs of the future. That’s the finding of a new report released today, “An Apprenticeship Skills Agenda.” With 65 per cent of elementary school students going on to careers that don’t yet exist, the report calls for bold, innovative and flexible skills and apprenticeship training to keep pace with advancing technology and help close the skills gap.

“The world is changing so fast that today’s conventional approaches to skills and apprenticeship training are dated and no longer apply,” said Joe Vaccaro, chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance. “More jobs require modern, multi-skilled tradespeople who can multi-task and adjust as our economy changes. Ontario can be a leader in skilling up the next generation, but only if it’s willing to try new ways of training.”

Right now fewer than half of apprentices complete their training. The report by Maxim Jean-Louis, president of Contact North, was commissioned by the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance and based on feedback from construction leaders across Ontario. It recommends the following to modernize skills training:

  • Flexible, competency based certification that follows the precedent set by Microsoft in 2014, when it certified a five year old who passed the exam to become the worlds youngest computer specialist;
  • Ending the focus on time, ratios, compulsory and voluntary certification, a system that’s too rigid and confusing for many apprentices to navigate and complete;
  • Students dedicate 20 hours of community work to mastering trades and practical skills;
  • Life long learning requirement for tradespeople to keep skills current;
  • Creative online learning and 24 hour assessment to appeal to a tech savvy generation and get skilled trades in the workforce sooner.

Despite best efforts, the skills gap is widening. Up to 41 per cent of Ontario employers would hire more people, if they had the right skills.


The Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance represents companies that employ over 400,000 skilled tradespeople across Ontario who build transit, hospitals, bridges and homes and provide professional and personal services like hair-styling and automotive repair. OSTA members are united by the common goal of closing the skills gap in Ontario.



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