Ontario Creating Pathways for Youth to Enter the Skilled Trades in Niagara

St. Catharines – The Ontario government is investing over $4.7 million through the Skills Development Fund in three Niagara-based projects that will provide free training to 2,318 youth, apprentices and jobseekers that will prepare them for in-demand careers in the skilled trades. This brings Ontario’s total investment in skills development and training through the Skills Development Fund to nearly $1.1 billion that supports the hiring, training, and retaining of youth in the skilled trades.

“We know in-demand jobs in the skilled trades continue to grow, especially in Niagara as we welcome a number of large-scale capital projects,” said Hon. Sam Oosterhoff, Associate Minister of Energy and MPP for Niagara West.

“All three Niagara recipients of the Skills Development Fund are effectively bringing job seekers and job creators together to help fill Ontario’s labour gap.”

“To keep up with our growing province, we need to attract more youth into the skilled trades, which is why our government is working hand-in-hand with labour and industry partners to create new training opportunities,” said Hon. David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

“By investing in these projects in Niagara, we are creating more pathways for young people to start a well-paying career in the skilled trades and build a brighter future for themselves.”

The Ontario government is partnering with local industry partners to deliver the free training programs.

Civiconnect Youth Skills Studio in Beamsville is receiving $3 million to help 350 youth aged fourteen to twenty-nine in Niagara develop technical and workplace preparedness skills for careers in the skilled trades, digital marketing, web development, digital system administration, cloud computing and information technology. Participants will work on projects submitted by businesses in the community.

Edge Factor in Beamsville is receiving $1,087,600 for a project that aims to showcase careers and opportunities in the skilled trades online for 1,920 youth, jobseekers, parents and community members in Niagara and across Ontario.

Millwrights Local 1007 in St. Catharines is receiving $650,369 to purchase and outfit a new six-booth welding trailer. The new industry-standard equipment and technology will enable Local 1007 to train, test and certify an additional forty-eight apprentices and journeypersons on various types of welding to meet industry and employer demand in Ontario.

“We have heard from young people and students in the community that their only pathway to success is through university,” said Patrice Barnes, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development.

“It’s time we break that stigma. The skilled trades open the door to a future with a six-figure salary – all without tuition debt. We are especially proud to support these local projects in Niagara because we know careers like these are more than a paycheque; they offer young people hope and self-confidence.”

“This funding will be instrumental in enabling Millwrights Local 1007 to offer more accessible work-ready welding training to our membership,” said Dan Steel, Business Representative for Local 1007.

“As an organization deeply involved in supporting power generation, steel making, automotive manufacturing, and many other critical industries, this welding center is a significant step towards improving skilled trades training in Niagara and supporting new apprentice development, which would otherwise not be possible.”

“It has been Edge Factor’s honour to share powerful stories of women, youth, people who are uniquely abled, Indigenous community members, diverse people groups, and immigrants in successful apprenticeships and skilled trades,” said Jeremy Bout, Founder and President of Edge Factor.

“With over 100 stories filmed with over thirty companies and transcribed into twenty-one languages, these stories serve as a beacon of career inspiration.”

“Thanks to the ongoing support from the Ontario government over the past three years, Civiconnect has empowered over 650 students, managing more than 350 projects for small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Nour Hage, President and CEO of Civiconnect.

Since its launch in 2021, Ontario’s Skills Development Fund has helped connect more than half a million jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying and fulfilling careers close to home.