SCARBOROUGH, ONT. – About 390 young people from underrepresented backgrounds will be able to train for apprenticeships in plumbing, steam fitting, electrical, elevator mechanic and refrigeration trades, thanks to $600,000 in funding from the Ontario government.
The investment consists of funding for three projects that support youth who are trained through Hammer Heads, a non-profit organization that supports underprivileged youth from the Greater Toronto Area.
Funding includes $350,569 for a free pre-apprenticeship program led by Hammer Heads to enable 18 youths, in two cohorts of nine, to participate in Hammer Heads’ 10-week program preparing them for careers in the construction sector. The program covers health and safety training, helps participants with academic upgrading and provides soft skills job preparation, construction skills training and placement with a union for an apprenticeship, indicates a release. The program for the first cohort began on June 21 and the second cohort begins on Jan. 17, 2022.
An investment of $218,200 will go to the Pinball Clemons Foundation to mentor 300 graduates of the Hammer Heads pre-apprenticeship program in years two through six of their apprenticeships, to ensure they have the support to successfully complete apprenticeship training.
Funding of $34,314 will be given to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 353 to create and deliver the Hammer Heads Virtual Reality Safety Training project, which will help 72 Hammer Heads participants travel virtually onto real construction sites to learn about safety hazards and best practices, adds the release.
“Not every young person needs to go to university. Rewarding jobs in the construction sector are growing, well-paid and going unfilled,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton in a statement. “Hammer Heads helps guide talented, trained and eager young people along their journey to these life-changing careers with education and hands-on learning. These projects will help boost our economy and give these young workers a leg up.”