By Kavita Sabharwal-Chomiuk
With a skills shortage looming in Ontario due to the retirement of baby boomers, there is a lack of new journeypersons and apprentices available to fill the gap. In addition, only about half of apprentices in Ontario complete their apprenticeships.
Confusion was identified as a significant barrier to enrolment and completion of apprenticeships during Ontario’s consultation with the construction industry in 2016. The government is taking steps to remedy this confusion, but the problem is complex.
“At any given time, hundreds of apprentices are registering, progressing through, and completing their apprenticeship programs within CLAC,” said Colin deRaaf, CLAC Training director in Ontario. “We want to ensure that they are able to complete their apprenticeships and enjoy rewarding careers in the skilled trades, which is why we’ve partnered with SOY.”
With this partnership, CLAC employers, apprentices and the CLAC Jobs team can now engage with SOY’s apprenticeship sponsor group services, which includes recruitment, registration, administration and support to employers and apprentices.
This allows CLAC to provide continuing support to their apprentices when they are seeking employment using the CLAC Jobs service. Apprentices can now stay registered without having to be sponsored directly by an employer. They will not lose their spot in line for the in-class portion of their apprenticeship, their OCOT membership stays in good standing, and they can still qualify for grants and bursaries.
“An apprentice’s ability to continue learning should not be handcuffed by the employer’s ability to keep them employed,” said Stephen Sell, SOY’s executive director. “These apprentices can now continue learning and preparing for their chosen career versus dropping out because they are between jobs.”
According to Glenda Rahn, SOY’s program manager, the two organizations will collaborate with individual apprentices to ensure they have full access to resources and mentorship while they prepare for the in-class portion of their apprenticeship, as well as the certificate of qualification exam.
“With this agreement, we can provide a collective voice surrounding the promotion of skilled trades and the modernization of apprenticeships in Ontario,” added deRaaf. “By streamlining and modernizing the apprenticeship pathway, we can help ensure Ontario has enough skilled tradespeople to continue moving forward, and we can ensure young Ontarians have access to rewarding careers.”