“The construction industry welcomes [the] announcement that an additional $55 million will be injected into Ontario’s apprenticeship training system,” said Patrick Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
The newly-formed Apprenticeship Enhancement fund will help bolster the training capacity of organizations that supply Ontario’s construction workforce across every trade. “The best return on investment is in unionized training facilities. They provide some of the best experiences for apprentices, when it comes to hands-on, earn-while-you-learn training,” explained Dillon noting that “this doesn’t stop at graduation, but rather continues well into the careers of Journeypersons who receive ongoing skills upgrades and exposure to the latest technology.”
“Ontario’s Building Trades already have a robust training infrastructure in place that will now be able to leverage the pre-Apprenticeship Training funds which are a part of today’s announcement,” said Dillon. Programs like ‘Hammerheads,’ ‘Build Together,’ ‘Work Ready Aboriginal People’ and ‘Helmets to Hardhats Canada’ cater to at-risk youth, women, Aboriginals, and returning veterans and reservists, respectively, in attracting them to the construction industry. “There is a good opportunity for the exemplary model that these programs provide, to be replicated across the province so that more apprentices are hired in traditionally under-represented communities,” suggested Dillon.
“We believe that accountability and performance should the primary focus in how the government allocates these funds. Attraction, retention and completion should be the major driver of any apprenticeship program receiving these monies,” observed Dillon. “Unionized Building Trades training facilities have among the highest apprenticeship completion rates in the country, and Ministry funding of any program should be indexed to retention and graduation rates.”