Sparking Student Interest: Ontario government invests $19m into automotive industry training

Windsor, Ontario — On Jan. 27, the Ontario provincial government took to Windsor, Ont. to announce yet another investment in apprenticeship training⁠—this one specifically benefitting the auto manufacturing and advanced manufacturing industries.

As part of Ontario’s Driving Prosperity plan, the provincial government is creating as many as 4,000 paid work placements for post-secondary students, recent graduates and apprentices, with all placements between 10 weeks and four months in length. 

Through Ontario’s Career Ready Auto Fund, the province completed the first round of investments and delivered a total of $5 million to partnering companies. Now, in the second round, the province is investing a further $14 million and says it will give employers up to $3,000 per work placement⁠, or up to $5,000 for placements for participants with disabilities. 

The government is currently accepting proposals from automotive manufacturing and advanced manufacturing companies with a footprint in the auto sector, industry associations, post-secondary institutions and other not-for-profit organizations. Proposals may be submitted through the Transfer Payment Ontario website and will be accepted until Feb. 25.

“This fund bridges the most acute gap we all have to a sustainable future for our sector,” said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association. “It ensures that the brightest talents find a home within the province’s biggest industry.”

The first round of funding created more than 1,000 learning opportunities for post-secondary students, recent grads and apprentices through projects by Toyota, Honda, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association and the Canadian Tooling and Machining Association.

“The core of any manufacturing operation is the skilled workforce,” said Tim Galbraith, sales manager at Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing. “We are all aware of the current skilled trade shortages and the demographic reality that it will get worse. This needs to change.”

“Ontario’s auto sector needs highly skilled people to master the challenges of economic change and stiff global competition,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “Through this investment, we not only help our future engineers, designers, managers, technicians and tradespeople to apply their studies to real-world problems, we also allow them to explore the auto industry as a career option.”

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