Ontario boosts finding for skilled trades training for students, including underrepresented groups

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is putting $3.5 million into training initiatives to help more students launch careers in skilled trades. Led by the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario (PBCTCO), training will prepare nearly 2,000 young people for well-paying jobs in the construction industry, including a path to paid training and union-sponsored apprenticeships.

mcnaughton“Whether it’s through the launch of our skilled trades career fairs or innovative projects like this, we’re preparing the next generation of young people for six-figure salaries in in-demand industries,” said Minister McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “We need all hands on deck to deliver our ambitious infrastructure plans, which is why we’re bringing labour, government and business together to build a stronger Ontario that leaves no one behind.”

McNaughton announced the new funding at the Finishing Trades Institute of Ontario, where he was joined by labour leaders from across Ontario. The PBCTCO brings together 12 leading construction unions with a province-wide membership of 150,000 workers.

The Tomorrow’s Trade programs provide training to at-risk youth and allow students to explore lucrative careers in the construction trades, meet industry mentors and develop essential construction sector skills. Programs are available for students in London, Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor-Sarnia and Sudbury until March 2023.

Funding will also support PBCTCO programs to recruiting people who have traditionally been underrepresented in the construction and skilled trades. Students interested in applying to PBCTO projects are encouraged to reach out to info@ontariobuildingtrades.com.

“The new funding pledged towards the Skills Development Fund will help bring training and apprenticeship opportunities to those seeking to join the skilled trades in construction,” said Marc Arsenault, business manager at PBCTCO.

Tomorrow’s Trades participants will receive $225 per week for training and transportation costs.

SDF Round 3 funding applications will be accepted until January 31, 2023. Interested organizations can apply through Transfer Payment Ontario. The province is preparing to launch a dedicated stream for larger capital projects later this year.

“Helmets to Hardhats applauds the increase of funding to The Skills Development Fund. The SDF has supported Helmets to Hardhats mission of referring veterans, reservists, cadets, military family members and Afghan interpreters into the skilled trades as a second career,” said Joe Maloney, founder and executive director, Helmets to HardhatsCanada.

“The additional funding will continue to ensure that Veterans leaving the military are aware of the opportunities that await them in civilian life, while also ensuring they have the training and safety skills to join the unionized construction industry.”

Funding allowed BOLT to significantly expand its job shadowing program that helps youth participants discover the many different careers available in the construction industry.

“Much of hiring in the skilled trades is still informal so a big benefit of the program is connecting job-ready youth directly to employers, most of which are facing growing labour shortages,” said Raly Chakarova, BOLT Foundation executive director.


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