Ontario seeking to attract youth to skilled trades

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Ontario is launching a $43 million initiative to help bring more young students into the skilled trades.

Labour, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton will make the announcement Thursday with Education Minister Stephen Lecce at the Children’s Museum in London.

“We need to attract more young people into the trades,” McNaughton said in a statement obtained by the Toronto Sun.

“Becoming an ironworker or a sprinkler fitter should be as obvious as becoming a firefighter or a lawyer.”

Ontario needs another 26,000 more skilled tradespeople over the next eight years, as one-in-three journeymen were 55 years of age or older in 2016, the government statement says.

Three new youth advisors will interact with students, educators, businesses and others on strategies to reduce “the stigma” of working in trades, the government says.

They’ll also work on ways to increase awareness of career options for students staring in Grade 1 and focusing on Grades 7 and 8..

The new funding will be used to attract and train youth to one of the 144 skilled trades in the province.

Skills Ontario will get $5 million to demonstrate the trades to the youngest learners and provide older students with information on their career options.

The government will provide $17 million to the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), while another $21 million will go to the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program which offers a free program of up to one year including an eight to 12-weerk work placement for students and graduates seeking exposure to a trade.

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