Ontario Construction News staff writer
The provincial government says it is taking action to attract more people to the skilled trades and employers to hire more apprentices. The province is facing a serious labour shortage which has the potential to get progressively worse. On any given day tens of thousands of jobs go unfilled and many of those are in the skilled trades.
As part of the government’s Open for Business, Open for Jobs strategy Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, last Friday launched a marketing campaign to highlight good-quality, well-paying and flexible careers in the trades, under the slogan ‘Find a Career You Wouldn’t Trade.’
The government statement did not say how much it spent on producing the videos, or placing the advertisements planned for movie theatres, Tim Hortons locations and digitally across the province.
“We need to do a better job at enticing young people and their parents to the skilled trades,” McNaughton said. “For too long, we haven’t viewed these challenging positions as a viable first option. That needs to change and our Open for Business, Open for Jobs strategy, including our new advertising campaign, will go a long way towards making the skilled trades more attractive.”
The advertising campaign reflects the passion of real skilled tradespeople in their work environments. It features up-close footage of three skilled trades people with in-demand careers and high income potential: a tower crane operator, a steamfitter and an arborist.
The ads are just one part of the government’s strategy to open up the skilled trades for young people and businesses. The government is also investing approximately $75 million in three programs to expose high school students to the trades: $12.7 million in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, $42 million in the Specialist High Skills major program and $20.8 million in a pre-apprenticeship program.
“The reality is that the skilled trades offer exciting and challenging careers that often require solid math and problem solving skills, and expose people to the latest technologies such as 3D printing and robotics,” McNaughton said in a statement. “When it comes to opportunity, to earning potential, to having a chance to start your own business, the skilled trades come out on top.”
Over the first nine months of 2019, Ontario employers had, on average, 204,000 job openings across all occupations and industries. Of these, 13,000 were in the construction sector.
In a statement Skills Ontario says it applauds the provincial government’s initiatives to promote careers in the skilled trades through the marketing campaign
“Skills Ontario is pleased that the government is facilitating awareness to people about opportunities in skilled trade careers,” said Skills Ontario CEO Ian Howcroft. “I want to thank and recognize Minister McNaughton for announcing this important campaign, and we appreciate the opportunity to partner on our common goals that will directly improve the lives of all Ontarians.”
“For over 30 years, Skills Ontario has been promoting skilled trade and technology opportunities to youth, and we look forward to building on our partnership with the government to continue to address the labour shortages in these sectors.”
It is essential that Ontarians are provided with the necessary knowledge that will allow them to pursue and succeed in careers in the skilled trades and technologies. As business has identified the skills gap as the number one issue that must be addressed for job creation and economic growth, Skills Ontario continues to develop and provide solutions through programs and events that include experiential learning and mentorship opportunities.
Skills Ontario plays a key role in addressing the skills gap,” the statement said. “Through Skills Ontario programming and the Government of Ontario’s marketing initiatives, Ontarians will be even better prepared to recognize the skilled trades and technologies as first-choice career options that offer rewarding and fulfilling opportunities.”
View the videos here: