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Ontario government launches online trades hub


November 5, 2019
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The Ontario government has launched a new website that raises awareness about careers in the skilled trades as part of its initiatives recognizing National Skilled Trades and Technology Week, which runs through November 9, 2019.

The announcement about the new online hub ontario.ca/trades comes after the province announced an investment in boosting the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program, which encourages high school students to pursue careers in the trades.

“There’s a problem on our horizon: Ontario is facing a shortage of workers in the skilled trades,” says Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, in a release. “The solution is clear. We need to let young people and their parents know that a career in the trades is exciting, fulfilling and lucrative. These are well-paying jobs. We also need to transform our apprenticeship system to make it easier to use.”

The new web portal allows users to explore the trades and learn how to become a tradesperson. Employers and current tradespeople can also get help with hiring and learn about changes to the skilled trades and apprenticeship system.

“Our government knows that there are tremendous opportunities in the skilled trades in our province,” says McNaughton. The government estimates that one in five jobs in Ontario over the next five years will be in the skilled trades. “By creating a one-stop shop that makes it easier for people to explore career opportunities in the skilled trades and for employers to hire apprentices and tradespeople, we can help build the workforce Ontario needs to be open for business and open for jobs.”

In addition to the 122 new programs being added to the SHSM program, the government says it has been supporting over 1,600 people in the past year to prepare for jobs in the skilled trades through its pre-apprenticeship training program, and reducing journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios to the 1:1 default for restricted trades, including construction trades.

The province is also continuing to wind down the Ontario College of Trades, eliminating the College’s annual renewal fees for apprentices, and reducing fees for journeypersons by 50 per cent.

“Our economy is evolving and the skilled trades are evolving with it,” says McNaughton. “We want young people and their parents to know that trades are using new and modern technology in these exciting careers.”