Apprenticeships post meteoric rise in Ontario
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Registrations of apprenticeships increase by a record 24 per cent as Ontario embraces skilled trades pathways.
The Ontario government increased apprenticeship registrations by 24 per cent in the past year. The number of new apprentices in the province rose from 21,971 to 27,319 as more people are deciding to pursue careers in the skilled trades. In total, there were 91,634 apprentices active in Ontario as of April 3, 2023.
“As we build a stronger Ontario that works for everyone, we need to ensure students and jobseekers know about the rewarding life-long careers waiting for them in the skilled trades,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “There is as much merit in being an electrician or a carpenter as there is in being an architect or a lawyer. I’m thrilled more young people are waking up to the promise of good pay, pensions, and purpose-driven work that the skilled trades offer.”
“This increase in apprenticeship numbers represents a collaborative effort and strong determination in Ontario’s approach to invest in our workforce and empower rewarding career paths in the skilled trades while strengthening the culture surrounding them,” stated Victoria Mancinelli, director of public relations, marketing and strategic partnerships at LiUNA. “The growth and retention of skilled apprenticeship is a testament to the ongoing commitment of labour, industry and government working together to remove barriers, streamline pathways in the industry and advance opportunity for a skilled workforce at the forefront of building Ontario.”
To help deliver the province’s ambitious infrastructure plans, including building 1.5 million homes by 2031, the ministry says the province will need over 100,000 new skilled trades workers this decade. The significant increase in apprenticeship registrations, which includes a 28 per cent jump among women, follows more than $1 billion in investment in the skilled trades over three years, along with the launch of a new agency: Skilled Trades Ontario.
“We are taking action across the board by making it easier for students to have apprenticeships, skills and credentials recognized towards their diploma,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “This builds on Ontario’s recent decision to require all students to take at least one technological education course, opening up the horizons and opportunities of all students into good-paying STEM and skilled careers.”
In an effort to reduce stigmas related to the trades, and to make more students, teachers and parents aware of the career opportunities within the skilled trades, the province also announced that Ontario’s skilled trades career fairs for students will be returning for the second year in a row, and in more cities. More information on the 2023 fairs, cities, and dates will be announced later this summer.
“Now is the time to build a rewarding career in the skilled trades,” said Melissa Young, CEO/Registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario. “With record investments being made in infrastructure, we urgently need skilled workers to meet demand. Skilled Trades Ontario is thrilled to be partnering with the ministry to promote these exciting opportunities, break down barriers and empower the next generation of skilled trades professionals to succeed.”
Students in grades 7 to 12 will have the chance to learn about the 144 different skilled trades through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities while hearing directly from tradespeople and local employers about these lucrative careers. Last year, 12,800 students, parents, friends, and teachers visited events in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, London, Mississauga, and Ottawa.