Ontario Construction News staff writer
Apprenticeship registrations in Ontario jumped by 24 per cent last year from 21,971 to 27,319, with a significant 28% jump among female apprentices.
“This increase in apprenticeship numbers represents a collaborative effort and strong determination in Ontario’s approach to invest in our workforce and empower rewarding career paths in the skilled trades while strengthening the culture surrounding them,” said Victoria Mancinelli, director of public relations, marketing, strategic partnerships, LiUNA. “Members of LiUNA continue to move our province forward, building, maintaining and strengthening resilient infrastructure that keep our communities, economy and future of our province strong.
“The growth and retention of skilled apprenticeship is a testament to the ongoing commitment of labour, industry and government working together to remove barriers, streamline pathways in the industry and advance opportunity for a skilled workforce at the forefront of building Ontario.”
The historic increase in apprenticeship registrations, including a 28 per cent jump among women, follows more than $1 billion in investment in the skilled trades over three years, along with the launch of Skilled Trades Ontario.
“As we build a stronger Ontario that works for everyone, we need to ensure students and jobseekers know about the rewarding life-long careers waiting for them in the skilled trades,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “There is as much merit in being an electrician or a carpenter as there is in being an architect or a lawyer.
“I’m thrilled more young people are waking up to the promise of good pay, pensions, and purpose-driven work that the skilled trades offer.”
Ontario’s skilled trades career fairs for students will be returning for the second year in a row and in more cities. More information on the 2023 fairs, cities, and dates will be announced later this summer.
“With record investments being made in infrastructure, we urgently need skilled workers to meet demand,” said Melissa Young, CEO/registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario. “Skilled Trades Ontario is thrilled to be partnering with the Ministry to promote these exciting opportunities, break down barriers and empower the next generation of skilled trades professionals to succeed.”
The fairs target students in grades 7 to 12 to learn about the 144 different skilled trades through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities while hearing directly from tradespeople and local employers about these lucrative careers. Last year, 12,800 participated in Thunder Bay, Sudbury, London, Mississauga, and Ottawa.
“Attracting new talent to the skilled trades is the first step in securing Ontario’s infrastructure needs,” said Marc Arsenault, business manager, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. “Our Council will continue to work collaboratively with employers and government to strengthen construction apprenticeship training from registration to completion, in order to generate the next wave of skilled Journeypersons that our economy depends on.”