The Government of Ontario announced that it is preparing young people for in-demand and well-paying careers by allowing students in grade 11 to transition to a full-time, skilled trades apprenticeship program.

Upon receiving their Certificate of Apprenticeship, these young workers can apply for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma as mature students. At a time when the province continues to face historic labour shortages, this change means that more students will be able to enter the trades faster than ever before to help build Ontario.

“These changes provide students with exciting pathways to good-paying jobs and rewarding careers and support our government’s ongoing work to attract more young people into the skilled trades,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Whether it’s enhancing trades education in our schools, breaking down barriers for newcomers or upskilling workers, we’re leaving no stone unturned to train the skilled workforce that will build Ontario.”

In the construction sector alone, 72,000 new workers are needed by 2027 to fill open positions because of retirements and expected job growth.

“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.”

Additionally, the government will begin consultations in fall 2023 with employers, unions, education stakeholders, trainers, parents, and others about ways to make it even easier for young people to enter a career in the trades. This includes the potential of lowering entry requirements for some of the 106 skilled trades that currently require a grade 12-level education.

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“Young Ontarians who are contemplating their future career options should know that working in the construction trades by starting a registered apprenticeship on track towards becoming a Journeyperson can offer a lifetime of opportunity and prosperity. Meeting growing demand for skilled construction labour in order to secure Ontario’s housing and infrastructure needs will demand better attraction and retention of apprentices. Jobsite health and safety is best ensured through apprenticeship training and today’s announcement can bring us a step closer towards securing the next generation of safe and productive construction trades professionals,” said Marc Arsenault, business manager and Secretary-Treasurer – Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

“Today’s announcement further highlights the provincial government’s commitment to promoting careers in the skilled trades. By allowing students after grade 10 to pursue apprenticeship opportunities is a clear signal to both students and parents that a career in the skilled trades is a career for life. Over the next decade, Ontario’s housing, transit, and infrastructure objectives will be built by those beginning their apprenticeship journey today.” Steven Crombie, chair, Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance,

Featured image: (Government of Ontario)

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