HPAC Magazine

Ontario proposes new pathways to skilled trades

May 1, 2024 | By HPAC Magazine


New measures include accelerated high school co-ops, new apprenticeship pathways for mature applicants and an online job matching portal.

The Ontario government is introducing new policy and legislative measures to get more people into the skilled trades, including new high school programs, adding a new apprenticeship pathway and an online job matching platform.

The initiatives are designed to promote the skilled trades to both youth and existing workers, since according to the province at least one in three workers in Ontario with an apprenticeship certificate as their highest credential is nearing retirement.

“We’re helping to tackle the labour shortage by allowing motivated, entrepreneurial students to get on a fast-track to a career in the skilled trades,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “To get there, we’re opening pathways into the skilled trades today for the workers of tomorrow by making it easier for Ontarians to find apprenticeship opportunities through a new online job-matching portal.”

Building on the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), the province is creating a new stream called Focused Apprenticeship Skills Training (FAST), that will allow students in Grades 11 and 12 to participate in more apprenticeship learning through additional co-operative education credits while completing high school. According to Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, the program will allow students to take up to 80% of their senior courses in co-op education.

Graduates would receive a new seal on their high school diploma to signify the completion of the program.

Ontario is also launching a new online job-matching portal for potential apprentices, journeypersons and employers to network.

The new government-housed platform, developed in partnership with the private sector, is intended to help streamline the process for potential apprentices to find interested sponsors, register and begin their training.

In addition, Ontario is proposing legislative measures to reduce barriers to apprenticeship training for workers who have prior professional experience, but cannot meet certain academic entry requirements to register as an apprentice.

This policy would create alternative pathways for immigrants and other people interested in the skilled trades as a second career if they meet alternative criteria that may include minimum years out of high school and history of prior work experiences.

The proposed change sets the stage for the ministry to develop alternative criteria which would be set out by future regulations under the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act, 2021.

These proposed changes are part of a larger package of measures that, if passed, would also protect the health and safety of workers, impose tougher penalties on exploitative bad actors and make it easier for more people to start a career in the trades.

 

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