CHATHAM—The Ontario government has announced it is allocating $4 million to Support Ontario Youth to launch a boot camp-style program to help youths become exposed to the trades.
The program will help up to 2,100 young people access training and networking opportunities to become electricians, plumbers, millwrights, automotive service technicians and horticulture technicians, stated a recent release. The funding will support 70 one-day boot camps in communities that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic to provide youth with training, resume-writing help and introductions to prospective employers in the industrial, construction, motive power and service sectors.
“There are many rewarding, well-paid opportunities in the skilled trades and there will be even more in the coming years as more tradespeople retire and jobs grow,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton in a statement. “This great project will offer over 2,000 young people an opportunity to get basic skills and form valuable connections in skilled trades that open doors to apprenticeships and meaningful careers. We want to inspire and prepare people for these exciting paths and ensure they succeed on their journey so employers can find the talent they need.”
From September 2021 to March 2022, Support Youth Ontario will run Tools in the Trades Boot Camps, targeting three groups of participants:
∙ Grade 12 students who have an interest in the skilled trades;
∙ people who lost their job during COVID-19; and
∙ people looking to start a new career, with a focus on Indigenous youth, people of colour, women and new Canadians.
To be considered for the boot camp, applicants must fill out a questionnaire through Support Ontario Youth’s website. A software program called “talent sorter” will determine their compatibility with their selected trade.
The program is aimed at 25 communities across Ontario including Ottawa, London, Hamilton, Chatham and Sault Ste. Marie. Each participant will get to keep a $250 basic set of tools to use during the training.
It is expected that 500 employers and industry associations and 300 education and training providers will be involved in the project.
The program is part of the province’s Skilled Trades Strategy, supported by Ontario’s $115-million Skills Development Fund.
“It is not only important but significant that the money from the government is already working to help grow the number of apprentices in the trades in Ontario. My team, led by Kevin Graham, has organized in excess of 60 boot camp events that we believe, and the numbers bear out, that we will see an additional 140 apprentices working in their trade,” said Support Ontario Youth executive director Stephen Sell.