Ontario funding project to help apprentices upgrade skills

ua 46
Image from UA 46

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is spending over $11.6 million on two projects to help apprentices and journeypersons upgrade skills in plumbing, steam-fitting, welding, sprinkler fitting and refrigeration.

“Across Ontario, businesses continue to see a shortage of skilled workers needed to build our province,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development “These projects will help 1,500 hard-working men and women take the next step in their careers so they can earn more take-home pay, provide for their families, and build stronger communities for us all.”

Funded projects:

Ontario Pipe Trades Council (OPTC) will receive $10.5 million to deliver state-of-the-art training for over 1,000 registered apprentices and journeypersons. Funding will help participants attend virtual and in-class training and support the purchase spider cranes and other specialized equipment. Training is open to members of the United Association within Ontario.

“The United Association has been an apprenticeship leader since the inception of trade designations in Ontario and across the country,” said Mike Gordon, director of Canadian training, United Association Canada.

“Within Ontario alone, our UA Local Training centers support upwards of 6,500 Apprentices throughout their journey toward successful completion while simultaneously upskilling an additional 16,000 journeypersons with the best training available in the piping industry.

“We embrace this responsibility considering it ensures opportunity to our membership and employers alike while also playing a key role in Ontario’s economy and our collective preparedness to meet tomorrow’s workforce demands. We commend the provincial government’s efforts to provide substantial resources to advance this mandate.”

The Joint Training and Apprenticeship Committee (JTAC) Local 46 Training Centre will receive $1.1 million in funding to deliver six-to-eight-week sessions per level of in-class training for 488 apprentices in the plumber, steamfitter, and welder trades. Eligible apprentices will receive income support while attending full-time schooling and can apply for financial incentives including a basic living allowance, commuting allowance and dependent care.

For more information or to apply to the OPTC’s project, contact office@optc.org or 905-665-3500. Registered apprentices interested in applying to the JTAC training program can contact Vince Kacaba, Director of Training, at (416) 759-9351.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were over 304,000 jobs going unfilled in Ontario, including over 20,600 in the construction sector.

Data suggests the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.

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