Toronto, Ontario — The Ontario government is taking steps to address the province’s skills shortage by expanding its investment in pre-apprenticeship training by more than $2.5 million, the province announced on Nov. 8.
The provincial government recently passed the Modernizing the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2019 as part of the Protecting What Matters Most, 2019 Budget Act to help transform the skilled trades and apprenticeship program, reduce red tape, and make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.
The province will provide an additional $2.5 million in funding for local colleges and community organizations throughout Ontario to deliver pre-apprenticeship training programs, which give students invaluable experience and knowledge in the trades, as well as foundational job skills needed to secure fulfilling and vibrant jobs.
The expanded investment will fund 91 projects across the province, including the Tropicana Employment centre’s Auto Body and Collision Damage Repairer program, and will prepare more than 1,800 Ontarians for careers in the skilled trades.
“Since 2009, Tropicana Employment Centre has been awarded and has consecutively delivered a pre-apprenticeship Level 1 Auto Body program, providing youth with essential collision repair skills and training,” said Vincent Ke, member of provincial parliament for Don Valley North. “Through this program, many youth develop the necessary tools to assist them in gaining meaningful employment in local shops.”
Retirements in the field are the main driver of the need for more skilled workers—in 2016, 31 percent of skilled trades journeypersons were aged 55 and older. When compared to the entire working population in Ontario, that same demographic makes up just 22 percent of all workers.
“Our government is taking action to address the skills shortage in Ontario,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “We know there are vacancies in the skilled trades, and we are working hard to help people match their skills to the ones local employers need. This investment means that more people will get trained in the professions we need for today and tomorrow.”
Pre-apprenticeship programs promote trades careers for all Ontarians, are free for participants and typically last up to one year, combining level one apprenticeship classroom training along with an eight-to-12-week work placement.