Ontario helping more students kick-start careers in the trades
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Province investing record amount in key programs to prepare young people for in-demand jobs.
The Ontario government recently unveiled plans to spend more than $62.9 million in two of the province’s foundational skilled trades programs to help more than 18,000 young people explore and prepare for life-long careers in a growing industry. The increase in funding will help train the 100,000 skilled workers needed to build transit, hospitals and at least 1.5 million homes by 2031, says the province.
“We need more young people to know university isn’t the only path to success in life,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government will continue to invest in expanding opportunities for students and young people so everyone in Ontario has a fair shot at a life-changing career.”
The government is expanding Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a specialized high school program that gives students who have completed Grade 10 the chance to explore the trades through cooperative education courses, with a $21.1 million investment to help more students across the province gain exposure to the skilled trades and accumulate hours toward an apprenticeship while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The province is also sending 72 OYAP recruiters into more than 800 secondary schools to compete directly with colleges and universities.
“Ontario’s plan to go back to basics includes a renewed focus on hands-on learning that integrates learning with working in the skilled trades,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “This significant increase in pre-apprenticeships, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the deployment of recruiters into 800 high schools across Ontario will help students jump-start their careers in the skilled trades and access good-paying jobs in communities small and large.”
The government is also investing $41.8 million to launch roughly 100 pre-apprenticeship training projects around the province to help young people get first-hand experience working in trades that can pay six figures, such as welding, electrical and arboriculture. Pre-apprenticeship training is free for participants while costs for textbooks, safety equipment and tools are all covered. Courses can last up to 52 weeks and include an 8 to 12-week paid work placement with a local employer.
“Expanding foundational skills programs, such as OYAP, means that more young women will have the opportunity to enter the skilled trades and build rewarding careers,” said Charmaine Williams, Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity. “When women and girls pursue the skilled trades, they are preparing for exciting and in-demand jobs with good pay and benefits. And when women succeed, Ontario succeeds.”
“This investment in youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programming is significant as it will help postsecondary institutions create a stronger talent pipeline in sectors that need skilled workers now and in the future,” added Candace M. Miller, executive director for business development and strategic support at Fanshawe College.