Ontario providing free training for aspiring construction workers
By Adam FreillConstruction Labour
Projects look to introduce women and young people to careers in one of the province’s most in-demand industries.
Three innovative, and free, projects in Ontario will look to help over 2,200 women and young people prepare for meaningful and well-paying careers in the construction trades. The projects include a Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO) initiative to help 700 tradeswomen gain leadership, communications, health and safety training, and networking opportunities, as well as a program to provide access to online resources and training tools, and the PBCTCO Tomorrow’s Trades program.
The Ontario government has pledged $3.6 million to support the free programs, which put a focus on increasing female participation in the industry, providing online training tools and exclusive employment opportunities to jobseekers, and giving grade 12 students a first-hand look at life-changing careers in construction.
“Our government will continue to invest in training programs that spread life-changing opportunity to anyone who wants a hand up to a bigger paycheque and a better life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “We are proud to support these new projects that help women and young people enter the trades and find purpose-driven careers.”
Women make up less than five per cent of Ontario’s construction workforce, a lucrative and in-demand sector. The province is looking to increase participation in that sector by women, which it says was the motive to provide funds to support the PBCTO project that will help 700 tradeswomen gain the leadership, communications, health and safety training, and networking opportunities they need to start and advance rewarding careers in the industry. The program will also include the development of a speaker’s bureau to partner tradeswomen with speaking opportunities with schools, employment agencies, trade shows and other events across the province to mentor and attract more women into the skilled trades.
The online resources project will aim to provide 1,500 people with access to resources and tools to explore the skilled trades, build core skills and find apprenticeship opportunities in their profession of choice, connecting them directly with local employers.
Additionally, the PBCTCO Tomorrow’s Trades program is returning to provide 60 Grade 12 students in London and Ottawa with hands-on learning opportunities, behind-the-scenes access to high-profile construction projects, and training so they can prepare for life-changing jobs in the industry. The program, which prioritizes at-risk youth, has previously run in Toronto, Hamilton, Sudbury, and other parts of the province.
“The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario appreciates the support of the Government of Ontario to invest in and expand three important projects with the organized skilled trades and our employer partners,” said Marc Arsenault, business manager at PBCTCO. “These projects, while all unique, together focus on developing the workforce of the future and expanding opportunities within the skilled trades for equity-seeking groups. As we move forward, this investment supports a fact-based approach to workforce development that will create opportunities for more Ontarians to embark on a great career to build the province we live in.”
These projects are funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700-million initiative that supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.
Through its first three funding rounds, the Skills Development Fund has supported 596 projects, aiming to help almost 522,000 people around the province take the next step in their careers.