The Ontario Government is investing $43 million in expanded youth training programs to help increase awareness and encourage youth to acquire the skills that will start them down the path to lifelong success.

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced the investments and the appointment of three industry leaders to advise on attracting youth to the trades, in London at the Children’s Museum.

“Ontario’s demand for workers in the trades is on the rise, and we want to attract more young and talented people into the exciting and challenging world of trades,” said Minister McNaughton. “Becoming an ironworker or a sprinkler fitter should be as obvious as becoming a firefighter or a lawyer. Our government is committed to ensuring that all young people across the province have the resources they need to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to get good jobs.”

The government’s investments to attract and train youth in the trades include:

  • $5 million, an increase of $3.5 million, to Skills Ontario so they can increase awareness of the trades among elementary and secondary students;
  • $17 million, an increase of $2.3 million, in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) to send representatives to schools to provide high school students with the opportunity to learn about work in the skilled trades, and/or train as apprentices while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma; and
  • $21 million in Ontario’s Pre-Apprenticeship Training program, giving students and graduates exposure to a variety of good jobs in the skilled trades. The program is free for participants and includes a work placement.

In addition, Ontario is appointing three Youth Advisors to engage with youth, educators, business, parents and other key partners as well as the Minister of Labour Training and Skills Development on how to reduce stigma and make the trades a viable first choice for young people.

They will advise on increasing awareness of the skilled trades among elementary school students, starting in grade one, with a focus on grades seven and eight, and on making it easier for high school students to learn about the options in the trades and to begin an apprenticeship pathway while continuing to earn secondary school credits.

It is estimated that Ontario needs more than 26,000 additional skilled trades workers over the next eight years.

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