WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Ontario government is investing nearly $4 million to help youth access skilled trades networking and training opportunities in communities hit hard by the pandemic.

The funding is through Support Ontario Youth and will help deliver 70 one-day boot camps to offer young people hands on training, resume writing and introductions to potential future employers in various skilled trades industries.

“There are many rewarding, well-paid opportunities in the skilled trades and there will be even more in the coming years as more tradespeople retire and jobs grow,” said Minister McNaughton. “This great project will offer over two thousand young people an opportunity to get basic skills and form valuable connections in skilled trades that open doors to apprenticeships and meaningful careers. We want to inspire and prepare people for these exciting paths and ensure they succeed on their journey so employers can find the talent they need.”

Youth interested in future careers as electricians, plumbers, millwrights, automotive technicians and horticulture technicians can take part in the “Tools in the Trades Boot Camps” from September 2021 to March 2022.

The boot camps target the following groups:

  • Grade 12 students who have an interest in the skilled trades
  • People who lost their job during COVID-19
  • People looking to start a new career in a growing sector or industry, with a special focus on Indigenous youth, racialized groups, women and newcomers.

“Our youth today will soon be standing where we are tomorrow. It is up to us to ensure they have access to as many opportunities as possible, so they may guide their own futures,” said Chatham-Kent MPP Rick Nicholls. “Our government’s investment will allow many youths and vulnerable adults opportunities for basic training in the skilled jobs field. We know communities have been hit hard by COVID-19 and this is one of the many ways our government is meeting the predicted demand for skilled trades people when things eventually return back to normal.”

Youth from more than 25 communities including London, Chatham-Kent, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Hamilton and others will be able to get experience using tools, speak with businesses in the sector and gain interview experience to help them decide if a skilled trades job is right for them.

Each participant is also provided with a $250 basic tool set to keep and use during training.

The province expects around 500 employers and industry associations as well as 300 education and training providers will be involved in the project.