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Ontario prepares the next generation of skilled trade workers


June 4, 2021
By Rock to Road Staff

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As the rise in demand for skilled trade workers increases, the Ontario government has taken action by investing almost $440,000 in a project led by not-for-profit Junior Achievement (JA), to help more than 2,000 high school students learn about available skilled trades and technology careers.

The project will consist of free activities and events offered to high school students aged 15 to 18, both virtually and in-person. Held from July 2021 to March 2022, students can look forward to a 50-hour training program where they can acquire technical skills to prepare for success in their desired trades.

Additionally, a province-wide virtual fair will be held in October 2021 for 2,000 students to participate and learn about skilled trades. To give them a chance to get real-world advice and make valuable connections, students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their newly-learned skills and meet local industry mentors at a province-wide virtual event in March 2022.

Breaking the stigma

While the project will help local communities recover from COVID-19 quicker by addressing a shortage of workers in the skilled trades, the initiative also aligns with the Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy. The Skilled Trades Strategy supports economic recovery by breaking the stigma of the skilled trades, simplifying the apprenticeship system, and encouraging businesses to hire more apprentices.

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“There are exciting skilled trades and technology careers waiting for young people today and there will be even more as current workers retire in the years to come,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour. “This investment is part of our strategy to break the stigma that still surrounds working in the skilled trades. We need to show students and their parents that becoming a tradesperson – a carpenter, a plumber, or an electrician – can be as fulfilling as becoming a doctor, lawyer or an engineer.”

Ontario’s investment in the project is part of its $115 million Skills Development Fund, designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development, in hopes to help the economy recover and prosper.

Stephen Lecce, minister of education, added, “Our continued investments in the skilled trades, coupled with real-world learning, will ensure more young people enter and succeed in these dignified, well-paid, and often entrepreneurial vocations.”