Students in Grade 11 can now transition to a full-time, skilled trades apprenticeship program at a time when the province continues to face historic labour shortages.
Upon receiving their Certificate of Apprenticeship, young workers can apply for their Ontario Secondary School Diploma as mature students. This change means that more students will be able to enter the trades faster than ever before.
“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,” Premier Doug Ford said in a March 8 news release.
In the construction sector alone, 72,000 new workers are needed by 2027 to fill open positions because of retirements and expected job growth.
“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,” Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said in the release. “When you have a career in the skilled trades, you have a career for life."
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.
The Ministry of Education is working to recognize up to 30 credits required to earn the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) for individuals with a Certificate of Apprenticeship or equivalent.
It takes between two to five years to complete an apprenticeship.
It's estimated 1.2 million people are working in Ontario’s skilled trades. Many of them are set to retire over the coming years.
Recently, there were nearly 285,000 jobs in Ontario going unfilled, while about one in five job openings in Ontario is projected to be in the skilled trades by 2026.
"With enormous and growing skills shortages, it is imperative that we continue to introduce innovative solutions and pathways that will assist young people who are interested in careers in the skilled trades," added Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario.