TORONTO — The Ontario government is preparing young people for in-demand and well-paying careers by allowing students in grade 11 to transition to a full-time, skilled trades apprenticeship program. Upon receiving their Certificate of Apprenticeship, these young workers can apply for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma as mature students. At a time when the province continues to face historic labour shortages, this change means that more students will be able to enter the trades faster than ever before to help build Ontario.
“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,” said Premier Doug Ford. “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.”
In the construction sector alone, 72,000 new workers are needed by 2027 to fill open positions because of retirements and expected job growth. To help deliver the province’s infrastructure plans, including building 1.5 million homes by 2031, more people are needed in the skilled trades.
“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.”
Additionally, the government will begin consultations in fall 2023 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. This includes the potential of lowering entry requirements for some of the 106 skilled trades that currently require a grade 12-level education.
“To ensure all students can get ahead in this province, we are accelerating pathways from high school to apprenticeship learning and ultimately, a career in the skilled trades,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Our government’s mission is to fill the skills gap by better connecting Ontario students to these good-paying jobs, helping many students who may not have graduated, now gain a credential that leads them to meaningful employment.”