In a bid to meet the growing demand for skilled trades workers, students will soon be able to leave high school in Grade 11 to move into full-time apprenticeships and still earn their secondary school diploma.
“These changes provide students with exciting pathways to good-paying jobs and rewarding careers and support our government’s ongoing work to attract more young people into the skilled trades,” Premier Doug Ford said at a March 8 announcement.
“Whether it’s enhancing trades education in our schools, breaking down barriers for newcomers or upskilling workers, we’re leaving no stone unturned to train the skilled workforce that will build Ontario.”
The province has an acute shortage of skilled trades workers and predicts one in five job openings here will be in the skilled trades by 2026. In the construction sector alone, some 72,000 new workers are needed by 2027 to fill open positions due to retirements and expected job growth. More people are needed in the skilled trades to help deliver the province’s infrastructure plans, including building 1.5 million homes by 2031, the province adds.
Upon earning their Certificate of Apprenticeship, the young workers can apply for their high school diploma as mature students. The move could help improve the high school graduate rate, which currently sits at 89 per cent. It takes between two to five years to complete an apprenticeship.
There are more than 140 skilled trades in Ontario, including construction trades (such as construction and maintenance electrician), industrial trades (such as welder), motive power trades (such as automotive service technician) and service trades (such as hairstylist). View the full list of designated trades. Search trades-related job profiles to see what’s in demand, how much you can earn and more.
“For far too long, parents and students have been told the only path to succeed in life is by going to university, which is simply not true,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “When you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life. Our government will continue to provide students with the tools they need to land well-paying and life-long careers.”
Beginning this fall, the government plans to consult with employers, unions, education stakeholders, trainers, parents and others about ways to make it even easier for young people to enter a career in the trades. That includes the possibility of lowering entry requirements for some of the 106 skilled trades that currently require a grade 12-level education.
Photo: In a bid to meet the growing demand for skilled trades workers, students will soon be able to leave high school in Grade 11 to move into full-time apprenticeships and still earn their secondary school diploma.