Ontario Takes Action to Address Skilled Trades Gap
Government Funding Close to 400 Trainees in Sarnia
SARNIA — Ontario is addressing a potential labour shortage in the skilled trades by investing in programs that will prepare people in Sarnia for careers in the petrochemical, nuclear and other local sectors.
The funding supports more than 380 students in Lambton College's six in-class training programs, including its newly accredited construction boilermaker apprenticeship program.
"People in Sarnia and the surrounding region should take note. There is demand here for welders, millwrights, steamfitters, concrete finishers and boilermakers," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "These are exciting, fulfilling and often well-paying careers. They are for people who want challenging, hands-on work that provides security, advancement and freedom to travel or become an entrepreneur."
The programs that will benefit from the government's investment of $926,416 this fiscal year are:
- Instrumentation and Control Technician, receiving funding to train 37 apprentices.
- General Carpenter, receiving funding to train 112 apprentices.
- Steamfitter, receiving funding to train 102 apprentices.
- Construction Maintenance Electrician, receiving funding to train 94 apprentices.
- Welder, receiving funding to train 17 apprentices.
- Construction Boilermaker, receiving funding to train 24 apprentices.
Minister McNaughton made the announcement at Lambton College to an audience of educators, administrators and boilermaker apprentices, one of Ontario's high-demand trades. He also announced that the college has been approved as a new provider for construction boilermaker training.
The announcement comes amid a government marketing campaign highlighting the skilled trades as a viable career path. The ads, which use the slogan 'Find a Career You Wouldn't Trade,' are currently running online, in movie theatres and on Tim Hortons TV.
"Ontario is facing a looming problem," said Minister McNaughton. "Our skilled tradespeople are retiring faster than we can replace them. The funding for this new program will help alleviate the strain our trades sector is experiencing and keep Ontario Open for Business and Open for Jobs."
"I'm proud of our government's announcement here today in Sarnia," said Bob Bailey, MPP for Sarnia-Lambton. "We're doing our part to get people ready for jobs, quickly and efficiently."
- Boilermakers build, install, maintain and repair boilers, tanks and pressure vessels in residential and industrial settings, including the local petrochemical industry in southwestern Ontario and at the province’s two nuclear generating stations. These tradespeople make up just one part of the province’s booming construction sector, and up to 40 per cent of current boilermakers are expected to retire in the next few years.
- The 2018 Ontario Auditor General’s Annual Report stated that between 2021-2025 Ontario will require 1,000 boilermakers for the refurbishment of Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and Bruce Power’s Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, two of the biggest infrastructure projects in Canada.
- Ontario recently announced a historic investment of $20.8 million into its Pre-Apprenticeship Program, an increase of $5 million from the previous year, to help introduce and provide free pre-trades training to over 1,800 people. Training is delivered by Ontario colleges, private career colleges, union and non-union training centres and other community organizations. To find out about programs in your area, contact Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail or live chat.
- Ontario also recently announced $12.7 million in funding for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program, aimed at encouraging more high school students to consider the skilled trades as a viable career.
“The Minister’s announcement today means Lambton College will provide training in the much-needed boilermaker construction trade, preparing our students for rewarding careers, in our community and throughout the province. By offering this program it will strengthen our economy and workforce.”
“Ontario’s investments in apprenticeship training at colleges are an essential part of the effort to produce a more highly qualified workforce. We’re pleased to work with Minister McNaughton and the government to promote the great careers in the skilled trades.”