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Province allocates $62.9M for youth skilled trades training

Funds will expand apprenticeship opportunities for secondary school students

The province has announced more than $62.9 million to boost programming that would help more youth get into the skilled trades.

Of the funds, $21.1 million will go toward expanding the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), a specialized high school program that enables students who have completed Grade 10 to explore the trades through co-operative education courses while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

Some of the funds will be used to send 72 OYAP recruiters into more than 800 secondary schools to "compete directly with colleges and universities,” according to the province.

The remaining $41.8 million will help launch 100 pre-apprenticeship training programs around the province. The cost of the training and supplies — including textbooks, safety equipment and tools — are free for participants.

The courses, which extend for up to 52 weeks and include an eight- to 12-week paid work placement, can lead to work in welding, electrical and arboriculture.

“We need more young people to know university isn’t the only path to success in life,” said David Piccini, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, in a Dec. 12 news release.

“Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government will continue to invest in expanding opportunities for students and young people so everyone in Ontario has a fair shot at a life-changing career.”

According to the province, apprenticeship registrations increased by 24 per cent in 2023, from 21,971 to 27,319.