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Mobile classrooms to teach youth about trades

Skills Ontario using $5.4 million in provincial funds to design, build trailers
Skills Ontario is rolling out three more mobile classrooms, like this one, which will expose youth to the skilled trades.

Ontario is launching three new mobile tech classrooms that will travel around the province to teach students and young people about the skilled trades.

The province is providing Skills Ontario with $5.4 million to design and build the classrooms, which will be equipped with hands-on learning stations and simulators for electrical systems, welding, crane operation, auto-painting, tire and brake work, heavy machinery, and more.

It’s estimated nearly half a million people will use the classrooms over three years.

The province said the investment is aimed at addressing the ongoing labour shortage.

“By 2025, one in five jobs in Ontario will be in the skilled trades. These are rewarding, well-paying careers that you can build a family and a life around,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, in a news release.

“That’s why our government will continue to invest in cutting-edge programs that give students the chance to experience the 144 trades and life-changing opportunities available to them.”

Since Skills Ontario launched its first tech truck last year, thousands of students have experienced the trades firsthand, noted Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario.

“This program ignites an awareness of opportunities in the skilled trades and tech field that inspires more young people to pursue these careers,” he said in the release.

The new tech trailers will be operational by 2024 and be able to accommodate 150,000 visitors annually.

The province estimates that, to meet its infrastructure plans, which include building 1.5 million homes by 2031, Ontario will need more than 100,000 new skilled trades workers this decade.