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Skilled trades priority for Ontario provincial government

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Shady Salah – Media in Toronto

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development of Ontario, Monte McNaughton, said on Thursday that the biggest problem facing the provincial government is the presence of thousands of jobs in the market, which are unfilled, underlining that filling that gap is a priority for the government.

Speaking to Cultural Media in Mississauga, Mr. Monte asked all families and the community to encourage young people to go for the skilled trades, noting that there are plenty of jobs in that field.

McNaughton’s plan to address what he calls the stigma around skilled trades includes reforming the education system to introduce the exposure to skilled trades as early as kindergarten.

Responding to a question from the MediainToronto regarding the amount the government dedicated for that program, the minister said his ministry spent $1.2 billion on training and training workplaces and on safe and healthy, beside $21 million this year, which is the highest investment ever in the pre-apprenticeship programs, providing opportunities for 1800 young people to get experience and begin their careers in skilled trades.

According to the province, there were, on average, 2,100 vacancies in the transportation and equipment-manufacturing sector — which includes the auto industry — through the first three quarters of 2019.

Fourth quarter statistics weren’t available by press time.

To fill those jobs, Ontario in January launched a campaign to sell the skilled trades to youth as young as five.  The entire plan involves an ad campaign, changes to education and paid apprenticeships and work placements. The province crafted the program after it hired Ipsos Reid to survey Ontarians aged 18-34 to ask why they were avoiding the trades.

McNaughton noted business will be called on to play an important role in filling the skills gap by being encouraged to take on more apprentices.

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