Begin Your Apprenticeship Journey with Help from Support Youth Ontario
The trades are a vital part of the Canadian workforce, but over the last few decades there has been a lack of new young people entering the trades. With the increasing number of tradespeople who are reaching retirement, it is essential to bring new workers into the trades to address the growing gap between the trades work that needs doing and the workers who are available to do it.
Informing young people about the trades, and supporting them through the process of entering and working their early trades career is the only way to ensure an increase in new tradespeople. Luckily, there are many excellent resources and organizations dedicated to helping young tradespeople navigate the ins and outs of this journey.
Support Ontario Youth (SOY) is one of these organizations, an Employment Ontario program funded jointly by the Ontario and Canadian governments. SOY’s mission is to support young people seeking to become apprentices in the trades. The program works with young apprentices, employers in trades industries, and other stakeholders in order to strengthen and streamline the apprenticeship journey.
Finding an Apprenticeship
Becoming an apprentice is the primary way to enter the trades as a career. While you can apply for an apprenticeship independently, organizations and programs like Support Ontario Youth can make the process much easier.
Navigating the apprenticeship process can be difficult, but SOY offers information on apprenticeships in Ontario, including the process for applying and how an apprenticeship journey leads to a trades career. The program offers information for young people to help them determine whether an apprenticeship in the trades is a good fit, and assists them in completing applications and negotiating with the employers sponsoring their apprenticeship.
SOY will assist with determining whether your previous education credits or work experience will affect the length of your apprenticeship term, and will help you to enroll in any necessary education or training programs required as part of the apprenticeship. They will also help you complete your application for a Registered Training Agreement with your chosen employer, and will assist you in registering as a member of Skilled Trades Ontario.
Scholarships and Funding
Though an apprenticeship is less costly than going to college or university—and you can earn a decent wage while you work and learn—there are still some educational and material costs involved. This can include registering for training or trade school courses, or purchasing tools and equipment. SOY facilitates several scholarships: the BOLT Women in Construction Scholarship, the Saniflo Apprentice Journey Plumbing Scholarship, and the SOY Education Scholarship. These are aimed at supporting the costs of apprenticeship, and SOY will help with the applications for apprentices registered with the program.
SOY also offers detailed info on the funding opportunities at both the provincial and federal level that are available to young apprentices in Ontario to help offset the costs of apprenticeship. These include a federal Tool Grant to cover the costs of purchasing your own tools; the Canada Apprentice Loan interest-free loans to help cover costs related to tuition, tools, and living expenses; or various provincial and federal tax credits.
Tools of the Trade Boot Camp
Another resources SOY provides to young prospective apprentices is the Tools of the Trade Boot Camp program. This offers Ontario youth the opportunity to participate in a day of job shadowing with a trades professional in the construction, motive power, and industrial trades. This is a great way to experience what it’s like to work in a specific trade, as well as giving young people the chance to meet and network with prospective employers.