By Kristen Frisa
Ontario Construction News staff writer
On May 24 Patty Hajdu, Canada’s minister of employment, workforce development, and labour announced $123,000 in funding for LiUNA Local 1059 in London, to help pay for training equipment and materials.
The funding, coming from the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP), will pay out over the course of three years, and cover the cost of more effective and safer equipment.
This investment will directly help up approximately 180 apprentices complete their training and certification, through purchase of equipment like skid-steer loaders, cameras, drones, and laptops. The equipment will also be available to other locals for their certification needs.
Through the funding, Local 1059 will be able to train and re-certify apprentices onsite, minimizing disruption to work flow for apprentices and their employers.
UTIP’s mandate is to help Canadian unions improve training quality through purchase of new and up-to-date equipment, to remove limitations to apprenticeship outcomes.
A press release from the Ministry of Employment and Social Development says Canada’s skills training is critical to our future. “The skilled trades offer good, well-paying, middle-class jobs, and the Government of Canada is committed to helping key groups, such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers and people with disabilities, to access these jobs,” it says.
“Infrastructure developments are booming in Southwestern Ontario, and UTIP funding is helping the Local 1059 Training Centre deliver the highly skilled labourers necessary for these crucial infrastructure projects,” says Brandon MacKinnon, business manager at LiUNA Local 1059.
The federal government is investing $25 million annually in support of UTIP through investments in training equipment and innovation in apprenticeship.
UTIP was announced in the 2016 budget and targets the Red Seal trades. Both streams are open to all unions, even if they don’t provide technical apprenticeship training as recognized by provinces and territories.