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Trades fairs appealing to northern communities

Level Up! will be held in Sudbury and Thunder Bay in November

A skilled trades career fair will be coming to Sudbury and Thunder Bay this November to help generate interest in the trades among high school students.

Level Up! is a provincially sponsored career fair highlighting the 144 different skilled trades.

Participants in Grades 7 to 12 can learn about the trades through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities, while hearing directly from tradespeople and local employers in those careers.

In Sudbury, the trade fair will be held Nov. 14 and 15, at the Steelworkers Hall, while Thunder Bay’s trade fair will be held Nov. 28 at the Valhalla Inn & Conference Centre.

Students can register for the events through their school’s Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program recruiter.

The province said hosting the career fairs is an effort to address the ongoing labour shortage, which is only expected to worsen in coming years.

According to the province, 360,000 jobs are unfilled across the province, while one in five new job openings in Ontario are projected to be in the skilled trades by 2025.

“Ontario is facing the largest labour shortage in a generation, which means when you have a job in the skilled trades, you have a job for life,” Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said in a news release.

“Our government is launching these annual career fairs so more students and parents know university isn’t the only path to success. We will continue to make historic investments to attract more young people to rewarding, lucrative and purpose-driven careers in the trades, and ensure employers can find the skilled workers they need to grow their businesses and our economy.”

The province said that a virtual career fair is also in the works, catering to those who can’t attend in person, and more information on that initiative will be provided in the coming weeks.