Did you know that 30% of London’s manufacturing workforce (currently 27,000 strong) is expected to retire in the next decade? It is critical to the health of the Ontario economy that a new generation of workers can access the support, education and training they need to be ready to fill those jobs.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop skills in manufacturing and other trades, allowing new employees to learn on-the-job with the support of a certified journeyperson. For apprentices, 80% to 90% of their training is hands-on and in the workplace, while 10% to 20% occurs as college-level classroom training. It is an excellent way to gain real-life experience in a trade, and offers the advantage of providing the apprentice with a paycheque while they learn.

To ensure that educational and service organizations throughout the London Economic Region are ready to help support job seekers working toward a successful career in the trades, the Local Employment Planning Council (LEPC), in partnership with the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) and the Apprenticeship Network, are hosting a series of Apprenticeship Workshops.

Representatives from employment agencies, Ontario Works, school boards, colleges, community service organizations, libraries, settlement services and literacy programs are coming together to learn about the path to apprenticeship in Ontario. Through informative presentations and discussions, participants are learning about the roles of both the Ministry and the Ontario College of Trades, and how both educational institutions and service providers can work together to support our area’s future skilled tradespeople.

Of particular interest to attendees so far have been the processes to seek trade equivalencies (gaining credit for work done outside Ontario), and the many financial supports available for both those pursuing an apprenticeship, and for employers who sponsor an apprentice. Excellent discussions have been had around the process to sign a registered training agreement and apply for membership in the Ontario College or Trades, and how agencies can support apprentices as they approach their in-class training and in writing their Certificate of Qualification (C of Q) exam.

The final session of the series will be held on Friday, November 18th from 9:00 am to noon at The Skill Centre 6th Floor Boardroom (141 Dundas Street, London). If you work with job seekers or students who might be interested in a career in the trades, please join us by sending an RSVP to jane@workforcedevelopment.ca.