Ontario introducing new tools to bring more youth into the skilled trades


Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is introducing new policy and legislative measures to attract more young people to the skilled trades, including adding a new apprenticeship pathway and an online job matching platform.

“Unlocking pathways to the skilled trades means unlocking the future of our province,” said Melissa Young, CEO and Registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario. “The targeted supports announced today will break down barriers and pave the way for more people to discover rewarding and in-demand careers in Ontario’s more than 140 skilled trades.

“Skilled Trades Ontario looks forward to our continued partnership with the Ministry to ensure Ontarians have the tools they need to build a thriving future.”

Demand for skilled workers in construction is expected to grow significantly over the next decade, the government says actions will “ensure the province has the tradespeople needed to build Ontario.”

Building on the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), Ontario is creating a new stream, called Focused Apprenticeship Skills Training (FAST), that will allow students in Grades 11 and 12 to participate in more apprenticeship training through additional co-operative education credits while completing high school. Graduates would receive a new seal on their Ontario Secondary School Diploma to signify their successful completion of the program and recognize them for their dedication to learning in the skilled trades.

“We are going back to basics in this province by restricting cell phones and social media, and banning vaping in Ontario schools to ensure students focus on learning and build skills that lead them into good-paying jobs,” said Stephen Lecce, minister of education. “We are proud to announce the new Focused Apprenticeship Skills Training program that will now allow students to take up to 80 per cent of their senior courses in co-op education.

“This will accelerate entrance into the skilled trades, supported by the mandatory requirement for all students to take at least one Technological Education course starting this September.”

A new online job-matching portal will be launched for potential apprentices, journeypersons and employers to network and share opportunities. A government platform, developed in partnership with the private sector, will help streamline the process for potential apprentices to find interested sponsors, register and begin their training.

Also proposed legislative would reduce barriers to apprenticeship training for workers who have prior professional experience, but cannot meet academic entry requirements to register as an apprentice.

“These changes allow for additional exposure to opportunities and are another step towards breaking down the barriers and stigmas around the skilled trades,” said Susan Crowley, Executive Director, CWB Welding Foundation. “These initiatives – ensuring hands-on learning, as well as reducing obstacles to enter the workforce – demonstrate a strong effort from the Government of Ontario to better support both our future workforce and the Canadian economy.”

The new policy would create alternative pathways for people interested in the skilled trades as a second career if they meet alternative criteria that may include minimum years out of high school and history of prior work experiences.

This year, Ontario is supporting 68 new pre-apprenticeship programs serving over 1,700 participants in 2024-2025. These projects are free for participants and combine classroom training with on-the-job learning.

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) now has more than 72 recruiters across 800 schools to help students learn about the skilled trades at a younger age.

“Skills Ontario is pleased to support initiatives that encourage more youth to explore skilled trades and better engage with more impactful co-op and experiential educational opportunities,” said Ian Howcroft, CEO, Skills Ontario. “Apprenticeships are excellent educational and career paths that more youth should explore.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.