A Look into Co-op programs for the Trades in Ontario
The skilled trades industry continues to thrive in Canada, but unfortunately, there are major gaps in the workforce. For the past few years, particularly in the province of British Columbia, the labour shortage hit such a critical level that it was a major headline in all news outlets and companies started to get more creative in recruiting people such as offering thousands of dollars in bonuses to anyone who could refer skilled workers. Others truly went the extra mile and brought on workers from Ireland to fill in the gaps. TimesColonist.com reports that as of 2016, a total of 5,885 immigrants from Ireland were living in B.C. as of 2016, and majority were employed in the skilled trade sectors.
Ontario is also affected by this crisis, and the Globe and Mail reported that in February 2018, finding welders, tool and die makers, machinists and millwrights for industrial companies in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, are now a top concern. Business owners affected offer a number of reasons attributed to the scarcity. One common reason they deduced is that there is a large number of skilled workers who are retiring and the number is not being replaced because today’s youth are shying away from these types of jobs because they are misinformed and are unaware that skilled trades could be a viable career path.
Fortunately, the Ontario government has recognized the issues plaguing the skilled trades industry and thus has implemented measures to ensure its steady growth. Skills Ontario, for instance, has launched several programs like in-school presentations that promote trades among students. Some of these programs also call for the participation of the students’ parents, who plays a pivotal role in educating their kids about multi-career paths offered by skilled trades.
Another method adapted by the Ontario government to foster growth in the skilled trades industry is to provide free education for 1,200 people to join apprenticeship programs. The program is open to all, including newcomers, high school students, graduates, or dropouts, as well as those who are already attending college.
Here’s a closer look at these Co-op programs for the trades in Ontario:
This program’s duration is one year with an additional work placement for eight to 12 weeks. The program also completely covers the costs of textbooks, equipment and tools and includes safety training for skilled trades, improvement to academic skills, and basic level apprenticeship in-school training.
The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is an ideal program for students aiming to get their foot in the door to work in apprenticeship occupations via the cooperative education program. Through OYAP, students gain the chance to become registered apprentices and pursue becoming certified journeypersons in a skilled trade while completing their secondary school diplomas. There are three types of OYAP programs, and the most common of which is the Regular OYAP which is open to any student who are over 16 years old with at least 16 credits to their name and are registered full-time in school, working on secondary school credits, and be signed up for cooperative education in one of over 150 apprenticeship trades.
Co-op Diploma Apprenticeship Program
The Co-Op Diploma Apprenticeship Program is another initiative implemented by the Government of Ontario to increase access to the skilled trades. This program aims to provide individuals opportunities to train as apprentices in a specific trade while in pursuit of an associated college diploma. Those who want to apply to the program must be attending a college program that offers the Co-op Diploma Program to see if they qualify for an individual school and the trade of their interest.