The Ontario Construction Secretariat says union-employer partnerships account for the highest numbers of apprentices who become journeymen in Ontario, according to results from a study it released Thursday.
The OCS commissioned study, Completion Counts: Raising Apprenticeship Completion Rates to Address Skills Shortages in Ontario’s Construction Industry, shows 75 per cent of apprentices trained through a Joint Apprentice Training Trust completed their program, while only 58 per cent of those who took other routes achieved a certificate of qualification.
The study recommends three policies the government and employers can implement in order to address skills shortages in Ontario’s construction industry while maximizing return on investment from apprentices:
- a provincial commitment to the Canada Job Grant that encourages apprenticeship completion
- procurement policies that create work for apprentices on all public infrastructure projects including provincially funded projects in municipalities, hospitals, universities and colleges
- leveraging the investment and success achieved through joint labour-management partnerships
Sean Strickland, CEO of the Ontario Construction Secretariat, said the best way of leveraging government money is to invest in programs such as union-employer partnerships, which often provide a high degree of trade specialization and create a training culture.
“The result is custom-built facilities and programs that are designed, equipped and structured to provide the optimal conditions for delivering trade-specific training,” he said.
In 2012, there were 60,000 construction trade apprentices in Ontario working in the field or completing their schooling through community colleges and union-employer training centres.