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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Helping Youth Explore Careers in the Skilled Trades

June 15, 2021

CHATHAM — The Ontario government is investing almost $4 million through Support Ontario Youth to help up to 2,100 young people access training and networking opportunities to become future electricians, plumbers, millwrights, automotive service technicians and horticulture technicians. This funding will help deliver 70 one-day boot camps in communities that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic to provide youth with hands-on training, resume writing help and introductions to prospective employers in the industrial, construction, motive power and service sectors. Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Rick Nicholls, MPP for Chatham-Kent-Leamington. “There are many rewarding, well-paid opportunities in the skilled trades and there will be even more in the coming years as more tradespeople retire and jobs grow,” said Minister McNaughton. “This great project will offer over two thousand young people an opportunity to get basic skills and form valuable connections in skilled trades that open doors to apprenticeships and meaningful careers. We want to inspire and prepare people for these exciting paths and ensure they succeed on their journey so employers can find the talent they need.” From September 2021 to March, 2022, Support Youth Ontario will run “Tools in the Trades Boot Camps,” targeting three groups of participants:

  • Grade 12 students who have an interest in the skilled trades

  • People who lost their job during COVID-19

  • People looking to start a new career in a growing sector or industry, with a special focus on Indigenous youth, racialized groups, women and newcomers.

“Our youth today will soon be standing where we are tomorrow. It is up to us to ensure they have access to as many opportunities as possible, so they may guide their own futures,” said MPP Rick Nicholls. “Our government’s investment will allow many youths and vulnerable adults opportunities for basic training in the skilled jobs field. We know communities have been hit hard by COVID-19 and this is one of the many ways our government is meeting the predicted demand for skilled trades people when things eventually return back to normal.” Youth from more than 25 communities across Ontario, including Ottawa, London, Hamilton, Chatham and Sault Ste. Marie will gain experience working with tools, writing resumes and interviewing. They will also have an opportunity to speak with businesses in the skilled trades sector. This will help them decide whether to enter the skilled trades and possibly find employers who can sponsor their apprenticeship. Each participant will get to keep a $250 basic set of tools to use during the training. It is expected that 500 employers and industry associations and 300 education and training providers will be involved in the project. This initiative aligns with the province’s Skilled Trades Strategy, which supports economic development by breaking the stigma of the skilled trades, simplifying the apprenticeship system and encouraging businesses to hire more apprentices. It is part of Ontario’s $115 million Skills Development Fund, designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development that will help our economy prosper.

Quick Facts

  • To be considered for the boot camp, applicants must fill out a 17-question questionnaire through Support Ontario Youth’s website. A software program called “talent sorter” will determine their compatibility with their selected trade.

  • Students and adults interested in attending a boot camp can apply on the Safe Ontario Youth website at

  • Data suggests that the need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly one in three journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.

  • The unemployment rate among youth (aged 15 to 24) in Ontario was nearly 21 per cent in May 2021, which was more than double the province’s unemployment rate (9.3 per cent). In May 2021, the unemployment rate among population groups designated as visible minorities was estimated at over 13 per cent compared to a 7.8 per cent rate for non-visible minorities and those that did not identify as Indigenous.

  • Ontario’s Skills Development Fund is supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario.


"The Board of Directors/Executive is pleased with the important investment this government is making through its support for Support Ontario Youth’s Tools in the Trades Boot Camp. The boot camp will lead to an important and needed rejuvenation in the trades here in Ontario. Further, these day-long events will help young people from a wide range of backgrounds get better acquainted with a trade and how they can access employment." - Mo Awan Chair of the Support Ontario Youth Board of Directors "It is not only important but significant that the money from the government is already working to help grow the number of apprentices in the trades in Ontario. My team, led by Kevin Graham, has organized in excess of 60 boot camp events that we believe, and the numbers bear out, that we will see an additional 140 apprentices working in their trade." - Stephen Sell Executive Director of Support Ontario Youth

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