Toronto, ON — Companies looking for new apprentices will have a new crop of apprentices to choose from and they will likely look a little bit younger than the typical apprentice. That’s because they will be younger!
The Ontario government has announced a slight shift to the apprenticeship system. High school students looking to start a career in the skilled trades can now transition to a full-time, skilled trades apprenticeship program upon completing their certificate of apprenticeship.
Starting in Grade 11, students who obtain their certificate can apply for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma as mature students, allowing them to streamline a career in the skilled trades.
“These changes provide students with exciting pathways to good-paying jobs and rewarding careers and support our government’s ongoing work to attract more young people into the skilled trades,” said Doug Ford, premier of Ontario.
Typically, it takes two to five years to complete an apprenticeship in Ontario. According to the province, this shift in apprenticeship processing is coming due to the skilled trades labour shortage. In the construction sector, there is a need for 72,000 new workers by 2027 to fill the positions of those looking to retire and for expected job market growth.
“This latest initiative will aid young people with an interest and aptitude to enter an apprenticeship and start their career as early as Grade 10,” said Sandy MacLeod, president and CEO of the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). “To address the growing skills shortages in the HVAC/R sector, it is imperative that we continue to introduce innovative solutions and pathways to facilitate the entry of young people into rewarding careers in the skilled trades.”
The government reports that it plans on beginning consultations this fall with employers, unions, education stakeholders, trainers, parents, and others about ways to make it easier for the younger generation to join the trades.
This includes the potential of lowering entry requirements for some of the 106 skilled trades that currently require a grade 12-level education.
The Ministry of Education states that it is working to recognize up to 30 credits required to earn the Ontario Secondary School Diploma for individuals with an apprenticeship certificate or equivalent.