The provincial government has announced two programs that it says will boost apprenticeship opportunities as it provides additional funding to colleges, training and other organizations over three years for equipment upgrades and more lab time during in-school apprenticeship programs. — at a cost of $55 million.
- The Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund will receive an additional $23 million over two years. This will help colleges and other institutions train more people and deliver relevant, high-quality apprenticeship programs by investing in equipment, space and technologies.
- The Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program will receive $13 million more in funding over two years. This will help people considering careers in the trades develop their job skills and readiness to find work as apprentices through in-class training sessions and work placements.
- As well, colleges and training institutions will receive an additional $19 million over three years, the government says in a news release.
Organized labour, including unions who operate training programs that would benefit from the additional funding, applauded the government’s initiative..
The newly-formed Apprenticeship Enhancement fund will help bolster the training capacity of organizations that supply Ontario’s construction workforce across every trade, said Patrick Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
“The best return on investment is in unionized training facilities,” he said. “They provide some of the best experiences for apprentices, when it comes to hands-on, earn-while-you-learn training. This doesn’t stop at graduation, but rather continues well into the careers of journeypersons who receive ongoing skills upgrades and exposure to the latest technology.”
“Ontario’s building trades already have a robust training infrastructure in place that will now be able to leverage the pre-Apprenticeship Training funds which are a part of today’s announcement,” he said. Programs like ‘Hammerheads,’ ‘Build Together,’ ‘Work Ready Aboriginal People’ and ‘Helmets to Hardhats Canada’ cater to at-risk youth, women, Aboriginals, and returning veterans and reservists, respectively, in attracting them to the construction industry. “There is a good opportunity for the exemplary model that these programs provide, to be replicated across the province so that more apprentices are hired in traditionally under-represented communities,” he said.
“We believe that accountability and performance should the primary focus in how the government allocates these funds. Attraction, retention and completion should be the major driver of any apprenticeship program receiving these monies.”
“Unionized building trades training facilities have among the highest apprenticeship completion rates in the country, and Ministry funding of any program should be indexed to retention and graduation rates,” Dillon said..