Skip to main content

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks in Ottawa on Jan. 20, 2015.ADRIAN WYLD/The Canadian Press

The Ontario government will add $55-million to apprenticeship training, money that will include programs to raise awareness about careers in the trades among groups that are not well represented in these careers.

With one in five new jobs in the province expected to be in the skilled trades, the money will support creating a work force that can build the $130-billion in infrastructure projects outlined in last year's budget, said Premier Kathleen Wynne.

"There are thousands of young people in high schools who have not thought about a career in the skilled trades. … We need to make sure that young people from all backgrounds have the exposure to the variety of opportunities that are available," Ms. Wynne said Thursday morning.

She made the announcement in Etobicoke at the largest ironworkers training centre in North America.

The money is part of the provincial government's strategy on youth unemployment.

Work placements for people considering the trades and in-class training will be funded through $19-million in increased funds, while colleges and other training facilities will receive money for upgraded equipment and more lab time and space.

"It is our responsibility as a government to make young people aware of the spectrum of jobs available in the province of Ontario," said Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Other provinces are connecting funding for postsecondary education more directly to labour market needs.

British Columbia, for example, says 43 per cent of its jobs in the next decade will require technical training.

B.C. is linking 25 per cent of its funding for universities and colleges to training for in-demand jobs in health care, engineering and trades. Industry and trade unions will also be polled regularly on which jobs are going unfilled.

Across Canada, some of the skilled trades have been found to suffer from a shortage of potential employees to fill openings. The downturn in the price of oil and layoffs in Alberta have lowered the profile of such concerns.

As well, according to several reports over the past few years, many of the careers projected to have skills shortages require university degrees, including graduate-level credentials.

Last year, Ontario invested approximately $165-million in apprenticeships, and, as a result, the number of apprenticeship registration have grown by over 100,000 in the last decade.

There "is a significant demand for people with the qualifications and advanced skills to succeed in the trades," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario.