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Ontario Training Indigenous People for Well-Paying Jobs in the Skilled Trades

Press Release

November 08, 2022

THUNDER BAY — The Ontario government is investing $1.5 million in three Thunder Bay training projects to make it easier for people in Northern Ontario to start rewarding careers in the skilled trades and address critical labour shortages in forestry and mining. Over 100 Indigenous people will get practical, hands-on training and apprenticeship experience to prepare for well-paying jobs in the North. These opportunities are part of a record investment of more than $77 million the province is making this year to get more young people into in-demand skilled trades careers.

“Careers in the skilled trades offer the opportunity to work anywhere, and the good pay to buy a home and raise a family,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Our government is proud to bring these purpose-driven careers within reach for more Indigenous communities in the North, and for more young people across our province to help tackle our historic labour shortage.”

Two of the pre-apprenticeship training projects in Thunder Bay are run by Anishinabek Employment and Training Services (AETS), with the Carpenters Union Local 1669 and Confederation College. They will introduce participants to general carpentry as well as the basics of welding and electrical trades. Participants will get classroom training and a 12-week paid work placement to gain valuable hands-on experience. Funding is from Ontario’s $28 million pre-apprenticeship program – the highest amount in provincial history.

The government is also investing $644,000 in the Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) to help 35 Indigenous people prepare for well-paying jobs as construction craft workers, plumbers and electricians. The program is free for participants and available to anyone from the nine Matawa First Nations communities in the Thunder Bay region.

“Ensuring prosperous communities for both Indigenous people and Northern Ontarians is a top priority for our government”, said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs. “This investment opens the door for Ontarians to make a change in their career, leading to an improved quality of life for themselves and their families while filling crucial gaps in the skilled trades.”

To make it easier for employers around the province to take on new apprentices, the province has also increased funding for the Achievement Incentive program by more than $24 million this year, bringing total funding for the program to $49 million. The program encourages apprentice training progression, completion, and trade certification through milestone payments to businesses of up to $17,000 per apprentice.

Quick Facts

  • The pre-apprenticeship program helps young people who want to work in the trades get the skills and work experience they need to start their careers.
  • Organizations that want to deliver pre-apprenticeship training programs can now submit their project proposals. Applications will be accepted until November 21, 2022 via the application website.
  • The KKETS project is funded through the Skills Development Fund, a $560 million initiative to solve the labour shortage and help workers train for good jobs in their communities.
  • Approximately 350,000 jobs are going unfilled across the province, while one in five job openings in Ontario is projected to be in the skilled trades by 2025.
  • There are over 21,000 jobs going unfilled in Northern Ontario.
  • AETS Pre-apprenticeship Training programs are receiving $876,286 in funding for two projects and have 72 Indigenous participants from the Robinson-Superior Treaty Territory First Nation communities.
  • To further promote the trades to young people, on November 29th students in Thunder Bay will have a chance to visit Ontario’s first-ever career fair for the skilled trades.

Quotes

“The Carpenters Union is proud to be a part of providing high level training to our Northern Ontario partners through our training centre. Delivering programs such as pre apprentice training gives individuals an opportunity to gain skills as well as receive any mandatory occupational health and safety training, prior to beginning a career in the construction industry. I will be looking forward to continuing to offer the opportunity for training while helping persons, companies, and communities in Northern Ontario build capacity for the future.”
– Evan Reid
President, Carpenters Local 1669 Training Centre and Local Union Coordinator.

“This initiative will provide First Nation citizens the stepping stones required to build skills and gain the knowledge needed to realize their career goals in the trades. It’s important that AETS continues to provide training programs which meet the needs of the First Nation communities.”
– John DeGiacomo
Executive Director of AETS

“The services and support offered by Anishinabek Employment and Training Services (AETS) and Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) connect participants to life-changing opportunities. Far too many people across our province are unaware of the many options available in the trades. We’re changing that. That is why, working with Minister McNaughton and his Ministry, we are hosting the Level Up! Career Fairs in cities like Thunder Bay, to introduce young people and their parents to the rewarding careers in the skilled trades.”
– Melissa Young
CEO/Registrar, Skilled Trades Ontario

Additional Resources

Media Contacts

Harry Godfrey
Minister’s Office
[email protected]

Anuradha Dhar
Communications Branch
[email protected]
416-326-7405

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