Ont. increases spending to attract more skilled trades workers

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The skilled trades industries have been plagued with shortages for years. In Ontario, the government has recently announced $20.8 million in spending to attract more people to the trades and boost the skilled workforce.

The Ontario Pre-Apprenticeship training program will increase funding by $2.5 million this year, giving an additional 200 people exposure to good jobs. The program is free to participants and always includes a work placement.

“Ontario’s economy is facing a looming problem: a shortage of workers in the trades,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “We need to find additional ways to let young people and their parents know that a career in the trades is exciting, fulfilling and profitable. We have to erase the stigma and let people know that these are well-paying jobs.”

In total, the government will invest $20.8 million into the program to help introduce over 1,800 people to the skilled trades. In the greater Toronto area, Ontario will fund 28 projects for over 600 people to get training in a variety of trades like automotive service technician, arborist, electrician, hairstylist, carpenter, welder, and a few others.

A new pre-apprenticeship program will be delivered through the Labour Education Centre and Youth  Employment Services (YES). This will provide 36 participants with the skills to become an apprentice in the construction sector.

Pre-apprenticeship training programs are publicly-funding, last up to one year, and often combine classroom training with an eight to 12-week work placement. Retirements in the skilled trades are driving the shortage of skilled workers. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years and over.

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