Ontario government introduces portable apprenticeship and skilled trades system

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

Ontario’s provincial government has introduced a new portable apprenticeship and skills trades system, allowing skilled tradespeople and employers to “chose skills that they need for the jobs that are available today,” the government says in a news release.

“With the new portable skill sets system, training, retraining and certifying workers in the specific skills need for these opportunities will be more efficient than ever before.”

Premier Doug Ford and Merillee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, outlined the new system Friday at a Clarington news conference.

For example, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Bruce Power have estimated that between 2016 and 2021, they will need about 1,000 boilermakers. With the new portable skill sets system, training, retraining and certifying workers in the specific skills needed for opportunities such as these will be more efficient than before.

“Our government is introducing portable skill sets so workers can upgrade their training faster than ever before and be ready for new opportunities,” said Ford.

About one in five new jobs in the province over the next five years is expected to be in trades-related occupations.

The new system will be appealing for non-union employers and the Christian Labour Alliance of Canada (CLAC), which encourages members to learn a variety of skills required for the job – but may be another rub in the face of the traditional trade unions, which have guarded their skills and work place jurisdiction with intensity.

Under the current system, Ontario’s tradespeople are required to master the full scope of a trade to complete an apprenticeship and obtain certification.

“There are important and rewarding opportunities available in the skilled trades in Ontario,” Fullerton said in her statement. “We are listening to industry and tradespople, and we know we need to get workers interested, trained and working faster. Portable skills sets will help us to deliver on our promise to modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system, match people and training with good quality jobs, and grow our economy.”

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