Province opens door to apprenticeship programs for Grade 11 students

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is making changes to allow students in Grade 11 to choose full-time skilled trades apprenticeship programs and complete their secondary school diplomas with apprenticeship certificates.

New rules allow the Ministry of Education to recognize up to 30 credits required to earn the Ontario Secondary School Diploma for individuals with a Certificate of Apprenticeship or equivalent.

high school“For far too long, parents and students have been told the only path to succeed in life is by going to university, which is simply not true,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “When you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life.

“Our government will continue to provide students with the tools they need to land well-paying and life-long careers.”

More than 1.2 million people work Ontario’s 140 skilled trades and according to Statistics Canada, the construction sector will require more than 70,000 new workers by 2027 to fill open positions.

Consultations will begin in the fall with employers, unions, educators, trainers and parents to make it easier for young people to enter a career in the trades including lowering entry requirements for some skilled trades that currently require a grade 12-level education.

“Today’s announcement is a step forward in our collaborative efforts to strengthen opportunities for Ontario’s workforce,” said Victoria Mancinelli, LiUNA director public relations. “Through early exposure to the trades, our future generation of industry leaders and community builders have an opportunity to earn while they learn, obtaining hands on, innovative skills that will empower strong careers in the industry.

“On behalf of LiUNA, we look forward to continue working with the government of Ontario, industry and education partners throughout the consultation period, working strategically to modernize our apprenticeship system and advance opportunities for a workforce that our province, economy and industry rely on.”

Here’s what construction industry leaders are saying:

“This is an exciting announcement. I look forward to the consultation scheduled for the fall of 2023 that will consider lowering the grade 12 requirement for some trades. It’s an important consideration especially as it applies to older apprenticeship applicants with the life experience and aptitudes for the trades but who lack high school graduation.”

Ian Cunningham
President, Council of Ontario Construction Associations

“The members of the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) applaud our Provincial government’s continued focus on normalizing construction as a career destination and making access to entry easier through apprenticeship. This movement to prepare young people for in-demand and well-paying construction jobs will make a profound difference to both students and employers.”

Giovanni Cautillo
President, Ontario General Contractors Association

“The Carpenters applaud Premier Ford’s and Minister McNaughton’s leadership in working tirelessly to bring more young Ontarians into good paying skilled trades jobs in the Construction sector.”

Mark Lewis
Chief of Staff, Carpenters’ Regional Council, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

“Creating new pathways is a major step towards addressing the skills shortage and providing students with an opportunity to engage in the trades early. PCA applauds the government’s more straightforward approach to training that helps young people better navigate what can be a complex and confusing system.”

Stephen Hamilton
Ontario Director of Public Affairs, Progressive Contractors Association


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