Ontario launches skilled trades career fairs
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour Skills Development
Province sets sights on students as it unveils new initiatives to tackle labour shortages and modernize skilled trades.
The Ontario government is launching a series of career fairs this fall to prepare the next generation of young people for jobs in the skilled trades. The fairs will aim to address labour shortages in high-demand sectors, which the province says and help deliver the province’s ambitious infrastructure plans and the building of 1.5 million homes by 2031.
“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a job in the skilled trades, you have a job for life,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “Our government is launching these annual career fairs so more students and parents know university isn’t the only path to success.”
Level Up! is a series of dynamic, multi-day career fairs highlighting the 144 different skilled trades. Students in grades 7 to 12 will have the opportunity to learn about the trades through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities, as well as directly from tradespeople and local employers as well. The first career fair is set for October 25 to 27 in Mississauga, with subsequent fairs planned for London, Sudbury, Ottawa and Thunder Bay.
“We are on a mission to fill the skills gap by better connecting and ultimately inspiring Ontario students to enter these good-paying jobs that are in demand,” said Stephen Lecce, minister of education. “By placing a real emphasis on life and job skills like coding, financial literacy and budgeting, we are ensuring Ontario students graduate with a competitive advantage and land good-paying jobs.”
The government also announced that Skilled Trades Ontario (STO), the provincial agency charged with modernized the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system, is introducing digital logbooks that will allow apprentices to electronically track their progress instead of carrying paper books.
“At Skilled Trades Ontario, our job is to make it easier for apprentices and trades professionals to reach their goals and get the word out to more people about career opportunities right here in Ontario,” said Melissa Young, CEO and registrar at STO. “Digital logbooks are part of our plan to revolutionize Ontario’s apprenticeship system.”
There are currently more than 360,000 jobs going unfilled across the province, and by 2025, one-in-five new job openings in Ontario are projected to be in the skilled trades.
Students interested in attending the career fairs are encouraged to contact their school board’s Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) recruiter, a teacher or school guidance counsellor to register.