TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $5.4 million to design and build three mobile tech classrooms that will travel across the province to provide students an opportunity to explore the skilled trades.
The 12-metre-long Trades & Tech Trucks, built and operated by Skills Ontario, will feature hands-on learning stations and are equipped with activities and simulators focusing on construction, industrial, automotive and technology. The activities include welding, electrical work, heavy machinery, pneumatics, fire alarm systems, tool exploration, virtual auto painting and tire and brake work.
The new mobile classrooms will be fully operational by the summer of 2024 and will accommodate 150,000 visitors a year.
Over the next three years, they will let nearly half a million people explore the skilled trades and will help tackle the labour shortage the province faces in a critical industry.
The announcement took place at the UA Training Centre during a Skills Ontario Tools for Success Event.
The province helped launch the Trades & Tech Truck pilot program in April 2022. The first truck reached over 40,000 students and young people, visiting more than 50 events across the province from Toronto to Ottawa and Thunder Bay.
The project is funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative.
“Since rolling out our first Trades & Tech truck last year, our mobile classroom has provided thousands of students with hands-on learning experiences,” said Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario, in a statement. “This program ignites an awareness of opportunities in the skilled trades and tech field that inspires more young people to pursue these careers.”
In addition to the provincial government other partners include Magna International, Milwaukee, Trades For Tomorrow, St. Clair College, Sheridan College, the CWB Welding Foundation, Mohawk College, Black & McDonald, LiUNA, the Electrical Safety Authority, Helmets To Hardhats, Unifor, Stellantis, IHSA, Collège Boréal, Fix Network Canada, the Carpenters’ Regional Council, the Construction Labour Relations Association of Ontario, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services and Apprenticsearch.com–Halton Industry Educational Council-Career Centre.