Ont. pre-apprenticeship program now accepting applications

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A new pre-apprenticeship program will allow disadvantaged youth to get a feel for working in the construction industry. In the coming years, the skilled trades are expected to have a shortage of workers.

Etobicoke, ON — Young Ontarians interested in pursuing a career in the construction sector now have the opportunity to partake in a new pre-apprenticeship program offered by the Ontario government. The announcement was made by Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training, and skills development, alongside Kinga Surma, MPP for Etobicoke Center, on May 14.

This paid 10-week pre-apprenticeship program, led by Brook Restoration Ltd, will be offered to youth in disadvantaged communities, aged 18 to 29, and includes those experiencing homelessness and living in community housing. The program will be offered in the Ottawa, Hamilton and Greater Toronto areas. The Ontario government has allotted around $2 million for the project for a total of 150 participants. Funding for the program comes as part of the government’s $115 million Skills Development Fund through the 2021 Ontario budget.

“We know that youth, especially those in marginalized communities, have really felt the brunt of this pandemic, with the youth unemployment rate above 20 per cent in April,” said McNaughton. “This project is a great example of local businesses stepping up with a solution tailored to help those who need it most, so we can give the next generation the skills they need to support their families and make our communities stronger.” Youth have faced higher levels of unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the April rate for Ontario youth aged 15 to 24 at 20.4 per cent.

The project will feature two weeks of in-house classroom education at the company’s head office in Etobicoke, and eight weeks of on-the-job training with Brook Restoration Ltd, and several other local businesses. Participants of the programs will be paid up to $3,000 during the training and those who successfully complete the program will be offered jobs by Brook Restoration Ltd.

Participants of the program will learn about general building techniques, how to properly use power tools and products used in construction, and an overall introduction to building envelope restoration and construction.

“Brook Restoration is excited to be offering Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and Ottawa’s youth this paid pre-apprenticeship program that will provide insightful training and work experience in construction,” said Edward Welch, CEO of Brook Restoration Ltd. “Each participant is eligible for a job offer at the end of the program. This program’s high-level objective is to provide marginalized youth with access to the tools and knowledge that will equip them with the skills to pursue a sustainable career in the construction industry.”

The first round of training will begin on May 24 and last until July 16, with two additional cohorts expected to train from Sept. 13 to Nov. 5, and Jan. 12 to March 11.

Youth interested in applying for the program can contact Brook Restoration Ltd at careers@brookrestoration.ca, or partnering organizations—Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, Toronto Community Housing and Youth Job Connection.

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