'We have to erase the stigma and let people know these are well-paying jobs'
Ontario has announced it will increase spending on its Pre-Apprenticeship Training program by $2.5 million this year to give an additional 200 people exposure to jobs in the skilled trades.
The move will help address the looming problem that Ontario’s economy is facing right now: A shortage of workers in the trades, says Monte McNaughton, minister of 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 which aims to give more than 1,800 people jobs in the skilled trades. Ontario will fund 28 projects in the Greater Toronto Area that prepare people to become successful automotive service technicians, arborists, electricians, hairstylists, carpenters and welders, among others.
These projects include a new pre-apprenticeship program through the Labour Education Centre and Youth Employment Services, which will provide 36 participants with the skills they need to become apprentices in the construction sector.
Also part of the program are two partnerships: one between Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment and Training, George Brown College and Toronto District School Board that will provide 15 indigenous people with eight weeks of paid work experience as general carpenters and drywall, acoustic and lathing applicators; and another between Skills for Change of Metro Toronto and Humber College that will train 24 women to become apprentice horticultural technicians or arborists.
The program is delivered by Ontario colleges, private career colleges, union and non-union training centres and other community organizations.
"I'm proud of our 24 publicly funded colleges and the work they do to train 81 per cent of apprentices in Ontario," says Ross Romano, minister of colleges and universities. "We're not just building skills and capacity, we're investing in people and their potential."
McNaughton also says that the government is increasing support to the program “because exposing people to careers in the skilled trades will make a difference in their lives and in our economy," he says.