Ontario is facing a looming economic crisis, with more jobs open in the trades than skilled workers available to fill them. In the coming years, there will be a shortage of nearly 100,000 skilled employees in this province. Part of the problem is that not enough high school students are choosing the trades as a career of first choice.
Support Ontario Youth educates youth on the opportunities in the skilled trades and guides them on the path to employment. How to become an ironworker or millwright should be as obvious as becoming a firefighter or police officer.
Their latest campaign is the “Tools in the Trades Boot Camp,” which offers up to 21 hundred young people training and networking opportunities, during one-day “bootcamps” in communities across the province. They’re encouraging young women to participate.
Attendees will be working with tools, writing resumes, acquiring interview skills, and networking with prospective employers. SOY Executive-Director, Stephen Sell said, “This initiative could have lasting impacts, not only on the coming careers of those attending, but also on the future of the skilled trades industries.”
The skilled trades have been ignored for years, in part because students have been steered toward college or university. Support Ontario Youth is working to change those perceptions by showing young people that the trades are an attractive employment option.
To become an electrician for example, requires 9 thousand hours of training; a huge commitment by the apprentice and their employer, when you consider 80% of an apprentice’s education is learning on the job. Sell said, “It takes as much time to become a certified tradesperson in some trades as it does to complete a master’s degree in university.”
Sell said a lot of young people are enticed into the trades after graduating from university, which is why the average age of an apprentice is about 30. “Once they’ve graduated, they look at the options available in the trades and say, this is what I really want to do.” There is immense earning potential in the trades. A senior journeyman electrician could make well over $100,000 a year.
Boot camp participants will get a glimpse of what employers are looking for in an apprentice. They’ll meet with employers in the industrial, construction, motive power and service sectors and may even be hired for an entry level position. Most importantly, they’ll learn that the skilled trades offer good jobs and rewarding careers that can be lucrative and life changing.
Attendees will also receive an apprentice starting tool kit valued at $250.
There are six Tools in the Trades Boot Camp events in the Ottawa area, beginning on September 28th in Pembroke. For more information on the Tools in the Trades Boot Camp please visit, www.supportontarioyouth.ca/bootcamp.