Ontario Construction Report staff writer
Ontario’s Ministry of Labour (MoL) says more than 3,000 construction trades employers province-wide are eligible for payment sunder the province’s recently announced $23 million apprenticeship Achievement Incentive Program – and there are “over 8,607 eligible payments due to apprentices achieving various levels of training/certification.”
In response to questions from Ontario Construction Report about the program’s implementation and relevance for the construction sector, the data provided indicates that by far the greatest number of apprentices covered under the initiative are electricians.
Almost half of the total number of employers – 1,503 of 3,032 – are employing apprentices in the “Electrician – Construction and Maintenance” category. The next biggest group is plumbers (559 unique employers) followed by general carpenters (430 employers) and refrigeration and air conditioning service mechanics (241 employers).
Overall, including non-construction trades, the government says the Achievement Incentive Program will provide more than 11,000 employers with as much as $4,000 in funding per apprentice as they reach key training milestones.
Employers within the construction sector have so far been eligible for 3,089 payments. “There is a chance that an apprentice has completed multiple milestones and the employer/sponsor would be eligible for multiple payments,” the MoL says. The largest number of eligible payments again went to employers with electrical apprentices – at 3,089, with plumbers following at 1,302 payments.
Not surprisingly, organizations representing electrical contractors are happy with the program.
“(Labour) Minister (Monte) McNaughton’s announcement will be extremely welcome by small businesses employing or wanting to employ apprentices, which make up a majority of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of Ontario (ECAO),” the organization’s executive director Graeme Aitken said in an earlier statement.
“The Achievement Incentive Program will benefit our entire community – employers, our labour partners, all those eager to begin apprenticeships. This will help us to continue to build careers for Ontarians; not simply find them jobs.”
The MoL says the achievement incentive program is intended both increase the number of apprentices and to incentivize the completion rate.
“In 2016, almost one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older,” the MoL statement said. “Prior to COVID-19, projections suggested over the next eight years Ontario’s construction sector will need about 22,000 additional skilled trades workers to address anticipated shortages. Our aim is for this program to help fill the shortages for good, well-paying jobs we know are available.”
“The Achievement Incentive is a systems-based grant program designed and developed to increase apprenticeship employer participation and the number of apprentice registrations, completions and certification of journeypersons,” the MoL says. “The program aims to encourage apprentice training progression, completion and trade certification through milestone payments to eligible sponsors for each new/existing apprentice.
“The Achievement Incentive program will support employer engagement by offsetting some of the cots of apprentice training and will help support apprentice progression and completion. Having more apprentices complete their training will help build a skilled workforce and a stronger economy.”
The MoL statement says the program will encourage employers to:
- Hire, register and train more apprentices;
- Increase apprenticeship progression, completion and trade certification; and
- Offset hiring on-boarding and training costs.
The MoL says it will assess the program’s success by “tracking key performance indicators tied to those apprenticeship sponsors that successfully claim milestone payments post program launch at set intervals on an on-going basis.”
These indicators include:
- Number of employers, group and individual sponsors participating in the apprenticeship system;
- Number of unique apprentices registered and existing apprentices who re-register a ministry training agreement;
- Number of apprentices who complete or are exempt from levels of in-class training;
- Number of apprentice program new participants and cancellations; and
- Number of Certificates of Apprentices and Certifications achieved.
“These indicators will provide the ministry with an opportunity to understand the overall impact of the program,” the MoL said. “Additional data tracking points, including qualitative feedback, will be created to specifically align with the performance and progress of milestone bonus payments being issued to employers of apprentices.”