By Anthony Capkun
November 26, 2021 – Responding to the just-released Apprenticeship Youth Advisors report, Ontario is investing an additional $90 million over three years to further promote the skilled trades to young people.
The report includes several recommendations to help solve the shortage of skilled workers Ontario is currently facing. The province says the funding aims to help attract more students to “rewarding and lucrative careers in the trades, and ensure employers have the workers they need to grow their businesses and drive our economy”.
“More young people need to know that a job in the trades opens doors to bigger paycheques, with a pension and benefits,” “When you have a job in the skilled trades, you have a job for life,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “The trades can be their ticket to building a better life, strong family, and a stronger community for us all.”
As part of the announcement, the province is also investing an additional $2.9 million—for a total of $20 million annually—to expand the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and provide more opportunities for students. OYAP now has 63 recruiters across more than 800 schools so that students can learn about the skilled trades at a younger age.
“We have introduced a new math curriculum that focuses on financial literacy, coding, and entrepreneurship, while expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program so that young people have a direct pipeline to good jobs in the skilled trades,” added Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.
To encourage employers to take on more apprentices, the province’s investments in achievement incentives and pre-apprenticeship training will increase to over $77 million annually, starting in 2022-2023. The achievement incentive will also focus on hiring apprentices from underrepresented groups. Pre-apprenticeship program participants can also receive living allowances for costs like rent and childcare.
• To further promote careers in the skilled trades, the province has released a new promotional video and advertising campaign, targeted to students with more information on the skilled trades.
• The Ministry of Education is planning professional learning opportunities for teachers—including guidance counsellors—so they can become more knowledgeable about the skilled trades.
• In January 2022, the province’s new training authority—Skilled Trades Ontario—will become operational.
• The advisors’ mandate was to engage with stakeholders and partners and advise the government on ways to break the stigma in the skilled trades, tackle barriers to participation from youth and underrepresented groups, and support greater apprenticeship completion rates. Learn more about the Apprenticeship Youth Advisors in their interview with Electrical Business Magazine.
• Starting this fall, Ontario will invest $2 million to host annual skilled trades career fairs across the province.
• The province will be accepting applications later this month for funding to develop and deliver pre-apprenticeship training projects.
• Pre-apprenticeship training programs are publicly funded, last up to one year, and often combine classroom training with an 8-12-week work placement. To find out about programs in your area, contact Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail or live chat.
• Several of these initiatives are supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.