Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario government recently announced $1.2-million to support a partnership between the Niagara Home Builders’ Association (NHBA) and Niagara College to help meet the demand for skilled trades workers in the residential construction industry.
“All across our province, we continue to see a shortage of workers in the skilled trades, for many life-long careers that pay six figures with defined benefits and pensions,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development.
“These unfilled jobs cost our economy billions in lost productivity and mean families are waiting longer for the goods and services they need. That is why our government is making strategic investments to offer hands-on training and paid work placements for eager job seekers in Niagara, connecting them with local employers in their community who are ready to hire.”
With Ontario projected to build 1.5 million homes in the next 10 years, the NHBA and Niagara College say they will work together to help close the skills gap in the construction industry and the trades.
The provincial funding will support delivery of a customized construction skills training program – hands-on instruction through NC’s School of Trades followed by an eight-week paid work placement – for individuals who have been unable to pursue a career in the trades due to financial or other barriers.
“Studies show that as many as one-in-five jobs within the province of Ontario will be in the skilled trades by the year 2025,” said Richard Lawrence, NHBA president. “This program will allow the NHBA and Niagara College to develop and train students with the skills they need in order to be job site ready to work their way into building a stable career, while filling the void of
The college recently launched a Construction and Maintenance Electrician program and a general carpenter program.
“Trade-based jobs are in demand. We are in a crisis and need to ensure our industry continues to move forward,” said Chuck McShane, CEO of the NHBA. “This program will open doors for our local workforce, economy and the industry sector overall.”
The Construction Skills Certificate of Completion program will accept 80 participants over four intakes between June 2022 and March 2023. No prior construction background is required, and participants will gain a broad range of skills and knowledge – including occupational health and safety, power and non-power tool usage, safe handling of materials in the construction sector – as well as the specific skills needed to fulfil the demand for drywall installation and roofing professionals. The program will offer flexible delivery to allow participants to remain employed while they earn new skills.