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  • Stephen Lecce, MPP

Ontario Training Young People for Careers in Creative Industries

August 09, 2021

TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing almost $1 million to expand on-the-job training for 350 young people in creative industries like film, music, gaming and animation. The initiative is focused on youth over 16 with disabilities, who are newcomers to Ontario, Indigenous or Black. This initiative is part of the government’s effort to ensure that youth, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, can connect to promising careers and contribute to the strength of our economy. “Doing what you love doesn’t have to mean giving up a good paycheque,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “The creative industries offer many exciting and well-paying opportunities for young people looking to start an in-demand career. This project will support bright young minds who face multiple barriers and need a leg up, so they can pursue their passion in entertainment and other creative fields.” The project, led by the Stratagem Group, Magnet, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, is being delivered by the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and Ontario colleges to students through a mix of online and in-person learning, with part of the learning happening in the classroom and part of it on the job. During the eight-to-12-week program, participants will learn from top tier industry talent in fields such as film, music, gaming and animation and will work together each week to research and collaborate on projects in their chosen field. At the completion of their training, the participants will be better prepared for careers in creative industries, depending on their choice of field, including jobs in animation, construction/set design and decorating, documentary filmmaker/producer, grip, location scouting, post-production/editing production, props managing, and sound production. Some of these careers have an average salary of $70,000+ a year, and in the first quarter of 2021, there were 400 unfilled jobs in the performing arts, spectator sports and related industries (Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey). Participants are referred to the program through TCHC, or their secondary or postsecondary schools. Those placed through TCHC will be paid for both in-class and on-the-job training, and high school and post-secondary students will receive credits towards graduation. Participants will also receive a microcredential badge for their work. This funding is part of the government’s $115-million Skills Development Fund to address challenges to hiring, training and retraining workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quick Facts

  • For more information about Stratagem Group and to apply for this program, please contact the Toronto District School Board experiential learning team or your post secondary school’s media arts and design departments. If you are not a student, please contact the Resident and Community Services Division at Toronto Community Housing.

  • The unemployment rate in Ontario for youth aged 15-24 in July 2021 was 14.5 per cent, well above Ontario’s unemployment rate of 8.0 per cent.

  • As of July 2021, young people accounted for 46 per cent of the net job loss in Ontario since February 2020.

  • Skills Development Fund projects are supported through labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.


"Skills training in the cultural and tourism industries is more critical than ever before. Pre pandemic these sectors were robust and growing, today after being the hardest hit and taking the longest to recover from Covid 19, skills development will be critical to addressing the labour shortage that is the major impediment to recovery and the growth we anticipate in the future with these sectors. " - Lisa MacLeod Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries "We are delighted to extend our appreciation to Minister McNaughton, Minister of Training, Labour and Skills Development, for the Ministry’s support of creative industries career development initiatives. The commercial film, music, gaming and animation industries are growing quickly and these training initiatives will help prepare the future workforce of Ontario for exciting careers in these growing fields. Along with industry partners and our collaborators at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Magnet, it is a true privilege to work with the Ministry on this initiative." - Jeff Melanson Executive Director, Stratagem Workforce "We are delighted to be working with Stratagem and Magnet on the Access to Creative Industries project. The creative industries are an important and rapidly growing sector within Ontario’s economy. This project will help create critical training and placement opportunities for Ontario’s future workforce. We appreciate the support of Minister McNaughton for this important initiative." - Rocco Rossi President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce "This program has completely opened my eyes to all the possibilities of careers and opportunities within the creative industries. So I must say a huge thank you to the TDSB, Stratagem and the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development for your support." - Jamie Paradi-Maropakis Grade 11 student, Toronto District School Board and summer co-op student in Stratagem program Additional Resources

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