• Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Expanding Youth Training Programs to Promote the Skilled Trades

The Ontario Government is investing $43 million in expanded youth training programs to give young people exposure to more employment options. The programs will help increase awareness and encourage youth to acquire the skills that will start them down the path to lifelong success while supporting Ontario's economic recovery and future prosperity.


Today, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced the investments and the appointment of three industry leaders to advise on attracting youth to the trades, in London at the Children's Museum.


"Ontario's demand for workers in the trades is on the rise, and we want to attract more young and talented people into the exciting and challenging world of trades," said Minister McNaughton. "Becoming an ironworker or a sprinkler fitter should be as obvious as becoming a firefighter or a lawyer. Our government is committed to ensuring that all young people across the province have the resources they need to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to get good jobs."


The government's investments to attract and train youth in the trades include:

  • $5 million, an increase of $3.5 million, to Skills Ontario so they can increase awareness of the trades among elementary and secondary students.

  • $17 million, an increase of $2.3 million, in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) to send representatives to schools to provide high school students with the opportunity to learn about work in the skilled trades, and/or train as apprentices while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma

  • $21 million in Ontario's Pre-Apprenticeship Training program, giving students and graduates exposure to a variety of good jobs in the skilled trades. The program is free for participants and includes a work placement

In addition, Ontario is appointing three Youth Advisors to engage with youth, educators, business, parents and other key partners as well as the Minister of Labour Training and Skills Development on how to reduce stigma and make the trades a viable first choice for young people.


They will advise on increasing awareness of the skilled trades among elementary school students, starting in grade one, with a focus on grades seven and eight, and on making it easier for high school students to learn about the options in the trades and to begin an apprenticeship pathway while continuing to earn secondary school credits.


"There's a growing demand in the job market for skilled workers" said Minister Lecce. "We want to help fill this labour shortage and mismatch with young women and men who can take on these meaningful and well-paid jobs. That is why we are continuing to position Ontario as a STEM leader for the next generation of workers."


"Today's announcement reflects our government's priority to encourage youth to explore the tremendous opportunities in skilled trades," said Jane McKenna, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "A career in the skilled trades is both rewarding and life changing."