TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $43 million to expand youth training programs in an effort to give young people more exposure to employment opportunities in the skilled trades and has also appointed three industry leaders to advise on the matter.
The investments announced Aug. 27 include:
- $5 million, an increase of $3.5 million, to Skills Ontario so they can increase awareness of the trades among elementary and secondary students;
- $17 million, an increase of $2.3 million, in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program to send representatives to schools to provide high school students with the opportunity to learn about work in the skilled trades and train as apprentices while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma; and
- $21 million in Ontario’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training program, giving students and graduates exposure to a variety of jobs in the skilled trades. The program is free for participants and includes a work placement.
The three youth advisers are expected to engage with youth, educators, business, parents and other key partners as well as the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development on how to reduce stigma and make the trades a viable first choice for young people, states a release.
They will advise on increasing awareness of the skilled trades among elementary school students, starting in Grade 1, with a focus on Grades 7 and 8, and on making it easier for high school students to learn about the options and to begin an apprenticeship pathway while continuing to earn secondary school credits.
“Ontario’s demand for workers in the trades is on the rise, and we want to attract more young and talented people into the exciting and challenging world of trades,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, in the statement.
“We’re delighted that additional funding will focus on where it counts: helping early learners appreciate why the skilled trades are such a vibrant and worthwhile career choice,” added Karen Renkema, VP Ontario for the PCA and chair of the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance. “With so many jobs opening up in the skilled trades, it’s about time the trades are seen as every bit as valuable as all other academic pursuits.”