Virtual training hub and new online job bank will help construction workers advance their careers

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

A new virtual training hub will help construction supervisors learn the skills they need to mentor and train workers, says Ontario’s minister of labour.

The Ontario government is providing $3 million to create the training hub and an online job bank to assist up to 200 laid-off and unemployed workers find good jobs in construction.

“Construction workers build the houses we call home, the hospitals that care for us and the communities where we come together,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “There is a growing demand for these skilled workers and our government is proud to invest helping more workers start and build their careers in this in-demand sector.”

Monte McNaughton
Labour minister Monte McNaughton

Merit Ontario will create and run the training and resource hub and McNaughton says up to  225 small, medium and large construction companies will bring their training programs online. The hub will also offer courses and resources to train supervisors so they can provide improved skills and safety training for their workers.

The project runs until June 30, 2022.

“This funding will ensure that underrepresented communities can fully participate in training and be part of the jobs of the future. Jobs in the construction sector are in high demand and we must do everything we can as employers and governments to ensure we can meet that demand. This funding will go a long way in meeting that goal,” said Mike Gallardo, president and CEO of Merit Ontario.”

Funding comes from the government’s $115-million Skills Development Fund to address challenges to hiring, training and retraining workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 500,000 people were employed in construction in Ontario in 2020. Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.

“My passion for safety began when a workplace incident with father’s company happened – I believe that I can make a difference in the trades and help to positively influence construction safety,” said David Prazeres, health and safety coordinator, Mattina Mechanical.

“Construction Ontario to me is an investment by the Ontario Government to help ensure the construction firms and their workers are equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide and maintain a safe working environment, deliver high quality projects on time and in turn showcase that careers in the trades are important, necessary, lucrative and something to be proud of for future generations.”

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