Ontario expands skilled trades career fairs
Over 25,000 students in grades 7 to 12 will learn about exciting and in-demand careers close to home
August 31, 2023 By CFI Staff
The Ontario government is expanding its successful skilled trades career fairs, now in its second year, to even more cities with more exhibitors and twice as many participating students. Ontario will need over 100,000 new skilled trades workers this decade to help build the province, making it crucial for more young people to have the opportunity to unlock their potential in the trades. The new cities with career fairs this year are Hamilton, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie, Oshawa and Dryden.
“Last year’s career fairs were a phenomenal success, giving thousands of students and their families exposure to the many career opportunities in the skilled trades,” said Premier Doug Ford. “As we make historic investments to build roads, transit, hospitals, schools and other critical infrastructure, these expanded fairs will help us attract more young people into the trades and develop the skilled workforce our growing province needs.”
Level Up! is a series of dynamic, multi-day career fairs highlighting the 144 skilled trades, from electricians to boilermakers. Over 25,000 students in grades 7 to 12, as well as parents and jobseekers, will have the opportunity to learn about these trades through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities while hearing directly from tradespeople and local employers. The first fair kicks off September 19 and 20 in Thunder Bay and will continue with fairs in communities across the province.
“For far too long, parents and students have been told the only way to succeed in life is by going to university – this is simply not true,” said Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. “There are lucrative and purpose-driven careers waiting in the skilled trades where you can help build our province. Under Premier Doug Ford, we are giving more students the opportunity to learn about the life-changing careers in skilled trades that come with defined pensions and benefits.”
“In an ever-changing global economy, we are seizing the opportunity to inspire students with hands-on learning in the skilled trades and increasing pathways to apprenticeship that better connect students to good-paying jobs,” said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. “Our priority is to keep students in stable and normal classrooms, benefiting from a focus on strengthening foundational skills on reading, writing, math. This is supported by expanded career fairs and a new mandatory requirement that all students take at least one technological education course starting next year, so that students graduate into fulfilling careers of the jobs of tomorrow.”
Additionally, Ontario is investing $24 million for 2023-24 through the Apprenticeship Capital Grant program, helping 66 training institutions across Ontario upgrade their training equipment and existing facilities that support hands-on learning for students and apprentices.
Previously, the government announced apprenticeship registration increased by 24 per cent in the last year – from 21,971 to 27,319 – as more people joined the skilled trades, playing a role in building Ontario. This follows more than $1 billion investment in the skilled trades over three years, along with the launch of Skilled Trades Ontario, as part of its strategy to attract more people into the trades.
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