Ontario Construction News staff writer
Skilled Trades Ontario (STO) is celebrating its one-year anniversary by updating training and curriculum standards. With 25 per cent of all apprentices in Canada training in Ontario, STO is increasing labour mobility and improving training standards for apprentices and skilled trades workers.
New standards impact the horticulture trade and further changes will be coming this year to program standards of the three heavy equipment operator trades: tractor loader backhoe, excavator and dozer.
“As a leading educational facility in the trades, we know skilled trades provide fulfilling, well-paying and in-demand career paths that are essential to almost every part of our daily lives and critical for the future of our communities,” said Dr. Craig Stephenson, President and CEO of Centennial College. “The recently updated training and curriculum standards will undoubtedly strengthen students’ skills, enhance their employment options and ultimately set them up for even greater success.”
Since its launch last year, apprenticeship registrations have increased by thousands compared to 2021 and more than 13,000 students, parents, and teachers attended skilled trades career fairs aimed at attracting the province’s next generation of tradespeople.
“We’ve made great strides in our first year, and this is only the beginning,” said Melissa Young, CEO/registrar, Skilled Trades Ontario. “From updating standards to moving more services online, Skilled Trades Ontario is removing barriers and setting apprentices, employers and skilled trades professionals on the path to success.”
STO is “bringing Ontario’s skilled trades into the 21st Century”, by releasing a one-window digital portal for apprentices to apply online, keep track of their training progress, pay fees and more, unveiling a bold new logo and visual identity, and introducing a digital logbook pilot which has allowed more than 100 new apprentices to now track their training progress completely online.
“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development.
New standards now in place and available on Skilled Trades Ontario’s website are for the horticultural technician, arborist and utility arborist trades. The changes include a revision of the horticultural technician on-the-job training standard to align with the Red Seal Occupational Standard and a structural refresh of the arborist and utility arborist curriculum content for better cohesion, giving apprentices additional time to learn theoretical content.
By 2025, about one in five job openings in Ontario is projected to be in the skilled trades. There are over 140 skilled trades in Ontario.