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As concerns grow over a skilled trade shortage in Ontario, Future Building will turn Ottawa’s EY Centre into a stage for career exploration. Between May 14 and 16, more than 6,000 students across Eastern Ontario will descend on the capital city for the country’s largest construction career exhibition.
From virtual reality welding to bricklaying to walking a giant iron beam, Future Building gives youth in grades 7-12 a peek into real-life scenarios and exciting opportunities within the construction sector.
Hosted by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS), with support from Employment Ontario, this year’s event will feature 26 experiential and educational exhibitors from across Eastern Ontario with activities including excavating simulators, carpentry, and pipe fitting. Future Building, now in its 15th year, has been key in providing students with one-on-one experiences to learn about the cutting-edge technologies and opportunities in the trades. Exhibitors will also provide advice and share experiences about apprenticeships, education and earning potential in the industry.
Concerns over construction labour markets loom large in the province. In Ontario, the construction and maintenance industry will need almost 104,000 additional workers by 2020, according to BuildForce Canada’s report, Construction & Maintenance Looking Forward. Ottawa is also in the midst of an infrastructure boom with projects including the rehabilitation of the Parliament buildings, the Ottawa LRT and the LeBreton Flats redevelopment.
“Our economy is reliant on filling job openings with the latest skills and training. Skilled professionals are in demand, are very well-paid, and the aptitudes required to succeed are changing as projects become more technically advanced,” says Robert Bronk, CEO of OCS.
“Future Building future-proofs the unionized construction industry by providing a platform for youth to see the trades as a dynamic career opportunity.
The need to attract and train new workers in the construction industry is pressing. Future Building is one important component of OCS’ advocacy as it fosters mentorships and provides direct pathways for youth to engage with experts one on one.
“The Future Building show is a great opportunity for young people to try their hand at a trade in a safe and controlled environment,” says Greg Bobier, business manager of the Waterloo Wellington Dufferin and Grey Building and Construction Trades Council. “It gives them a good estimation of what the different trades do and how they do it and it also reinforces the union backing in a positive light. It is well worth the investment of time to understand the great potential to working in the unionized construction trades.”