VAUGHAN, ONT.—Andrew Pariser, vice-president at the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON), said there are three “small yet meaningful steps” employers can take to increase the labour supply and attract young people to pursue a career in the trades.
These include tapping into government programs and supports, advertising potential opportunities and focusing on retention.
In RESCON’s January newsletter, Pariser, who was one of three youth advisers appointed to work with the minister of labour, training and skills development to attract more youth and underrepresented groups to skilled trades careers, said employers should:
- Keep pace with incentives and programs created to improve labour supply in construction. The Ontario government has information on resources and financial incentives for employers on its apprenticeship website.
- Document their needs and create job postings outlining their expectations. Employers must advertise exactly what they require so training providers can work to meet the need.
- Focus on retaining employees by considering non-monetary benefits that can be offered such as mentorships, orientation, strong anti-racism and health and safety policies, and providing proper safety equipment.
The Ontario government is making an additional $90 million investment in the trades sector, some of which will be used to deploy more recruiters to high schools to teach youth about the trades, states a release.
The province also wants the federal government to double the number of candidates who can be brought in under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program so more trades can be recruited from overseas.
The outlook for the construction industry is positive and, with immigration numbers rising, there will be more demand for housing and skilled trades workers, said RESCON president Richard Lyall in a statement.
“To fill these future jobs, we must lay the groundwork now and let youth and people from underrepresented groups know about the opportunities in our industry,” said Lyall. “Skilled labour is fundamental to the success of construction and the homebuilding industry, so it is essential that we recruit and train new workers.”