Bumbling around after high school not knowing which talents you can build and turn into a career? Or have you decided you wanted a career change that will be fulfilling to grow with and call your own, but not sure just what? Try this opportunity on for size.

Blue-collar careers may not get the attention that they’re worth. With the province experiencing a shortage in the skilled trades, the government has responded by investing. It hopes to boost the workforce by attracting more people into the skilled trade industries. 

Last Monday, the Ministry of Labour, Training, Skills and Development made the announcement that the government is investing $20.8 million into skilled trades programs.  

Minister Monte McNaughton addressed the shortage by saying, “We need to find additional ways to let young people know that a career in the trades is exciting, fulfilling and profitable. We have to erase the stigma and let people know that these are well-paying jobs.”

This $20.8 million investment is going into Ontario’s Pre-Apprenticeship Program, and the funding increased by $2.5 million this year, which can help bring the program to more people. Annually, it helps introduce over 1,800 people in the skilled trades to secure opportunities.

The pre-apprenticeship training programs are publicly funded, last up to a year, and often combine classroom training with an 8-12 week work placement.

Ontario, in the Greater Toronto Area, will fund 28 projects for people to get into a variety of trades like: automotive service, arborist, electrician, hairstylist, carpenter, welder, and others.

Some of the partnerships that provide pre-apprenticeship programs are with:

  • Youth Employment Services (YES), for participants to become apprentices in the construction sector;
  • George Brown College and the Toronto District School Board, for indigenous people to become apprentices as a general carpenter and/or drywall, acoustic and lathing applicator; and
  • Skills for Change, to provide women with training as apprentices to become Horticulture Technicians or Arborists.

Find out which programs are offered in your area by contacting Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail or live chat.