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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Providing Free Job Training for At-Risk Workers in London

LONDON — The Ontario government is investing $2.5 million to support four free training projects to help 385 jobseekers and 2,300 students who face barriers to employment prepare for meaningful jobs with local businesses in London and across southwestern Ontario. Research has shown that more than two-thirds of people over the age of 55 feel the job market is closed to them, while the youth in Ontario are unemployed at a rate twice as high as the provincial average, all while more than 17,000 jobs are going unfilled in the London area.

“As Ontario continues to combat a historic labour shortage, we need to ensure everyone in our community gets a fair shot at the training they need to land life-changing careers,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “These free projects will help level the playing field and give disadvantaged young people, seniors – everyone in between – in London a chance at better jobs and bigger paycheques.”

Led by Over 55 London, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Pathways Employment Help Centre and WePrep Inc./LiUNA Local 1059, the programs announced today will prioritize those traditionally shut out of the job market, such as at-risk youth and those over the age of 55.

They will prepare jobseekers for well-paying careers in construction, manufacturing, property maintenance, hospitality, retail, and other in-demand industries in London and the surrounding region.

“So much can be achieved when we work together,” said Steve Cordes, CEO at Youth Opportunities Unlimited. “In partnership with Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, Youth Opportunities Unlimited is striving to remove the barriers that prevent youth from accessing skilled training as the next step on their career path. We’re working with Fanshawe College and Michael + Clark Construction to provide skilled training, on-the-job paid experience and additional supports that will help 60 youth pursue careers in construction trades. We’re delighted to host the Minister here today and show him how YOU and our partners are using Skills Development Funds to help youth thrive in skilled trades careers.”

Participants will have the chance to explore a range of employment and training options through hands-on training, apprenticeships, on-the-job learning, and financial literacy courses. They will also have access to free equipment like work boots and tools, and support with living expenses, childcare, transportation, and mental health resources, to ensure a smooth transition to the job market.

“With the generational Volkswagen investment coming to our region bringing 3,000 direct jobs and 30,000 jobs across the province it is critical that we continue to ease the historic labour shortage,” said Rob Flack, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London. “Ontario’s investment in four free training projects will give underprivileged individuals in Southwestern Ontario the opportunity to find meaningful and well-paying jobs.”

These projects are funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home. For more information on how to register, contact one of the participating organizations.

Quick Facts

  • Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) is receiving $502,328 for their project, which will help 60 young workers learn new skills related to pre-construction, skilled trades, hand and power tools training, working at heights, and health and safety.

  • For more information on YOU’s program, please call 519-432-1112.

  • The Pathways Employment Help Centre is receiving $647,062 for their project, which will prepare 75 people facing barriers to employment to train for and find good jobs in the manufacturing section and construction trades.

  • For more information on how to apply to the Pathways Employment Help Centre program, visit:

  • WePrep Inc. is receiving $760,000 to provide financial literacy training for 200 apprentices and pre-apprentices, and 2,300 high school students interested in the skilled trades.

  • Those interested in this program can connect with LiUNA Local 1059 at 519-455-8083.

  • The Over 55 London project is receiving $594,732 to help 50 mature unemployed or underemployed jobseekers find employment or entrepreneurial opportunities.

  • Individuals can apply in person at the London Kiwanis Seniors Club or online at

  • Through its first three funding rounds, the Skills Development Fund has supported 596 projects, to help almost 522,000 people around the province take the next step in their careers.

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


"Pathways is thrilled to receive Skills Development Funds to enhance our skills training programs in construction, manufacturing and property maintenance. The ‘Building New Skills for Tomorrow’ project will address urgent hiring needs of employers and ensure job seekers have access to fully-funded programs. These funds will support the enhancement and redesign of our 8 to 12-week training programs, integrating new technologies to meet shifting needs in the sector, and providing continued wraparound supports to individuals facing barriers to employment."

- Paul Hubert CEO, Pathways Employment Help Centre

"Minister McNaughton is doing an unprecedented amount to drive students toward the skilled trades. As they progress in their field, students will need to understand how finance will affect them and their careers. WePrep is thrilled to partner with MLITSD to provide financial education for students to help them prepare for and succeed in their trade."

- Peter Loveland Director, Product, WePrep Inc.

"Adults 55 plus represent one of our most underutilized resources, especially as it relates to our changing labour forces. This cohort offers a wealth of experience, knowledge and productivity which could benefit any employer throughout Canada. That is why Over 55 London has chosen to launch employment services tailored to the needs of the mature job seeker, and to help connect them with the best possible opportunities. We are thrilled to have the support of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development through the Skills Development Fund (SDF) so that we can begin to tap into the potential of our job seekers age 55+."

- Rodolfo Martinez Executive Director, Over 55 London

"What this training means to me is opportunity. It is a chance for something different, to be something different, and offer more for my community and to give back in positive ways. It has done so much good for my stability in life and for my mental health. The future I now see is all because of this program, the staff and how this training has opened me to many new skills in the trade."

- Jordan Youth Trainee, Youth Opportunities Unlimited

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