The federal government is providing money to help London-area apprentices get the skills they need to succeed in a changing economy.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu announced Friday that the Liberal government is providing $123,000 for materials and training equipment to help roughly 180 apprentices.
The Government of Canada will provide the money over three years for the project, delivered by the Labourers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) Local 1059 Training Trust Fund.
Speaking on the Craig Needles Show on 980 CFPL, Hajdu stressed the importance of a trained workforce.
“One of the challenges we’ve had as a country is as we are investing in infrastructure, we also have a corresponding shortage of skilled trades professionals,” said Hajdu, who was in London Friday morning to make the announcement.
“We know if we can help support those who are working hard to train people and encourage people to seek a career in the trades then this is good for communities, the projects, and also good for the people. These are solid middle-class jobs.”
With the funding, LiUNA Local 1059 will purchase modern equipment to improve safety and productivity, including skid-steer loaders, cameras, drones and laptops.
Officials say by training and recertifying apprentices onsite, Local 1059 will minimize work disruptions for both employers and apprentices. Millwrights, pile drivers, floor layers, carpenters and other tradespeople will be able to make use of the new equipment to obtain their certification.
“We have pockets of folks who have been traditionally left behind in terms of skills development or don’t have the same kind of access to education and training, that’s why we believe that education and training is so important.”
Hajdu says the work to get more people trained in the skilled trades provides an opportunity to get more people involved.
WATCH: (May 11, 2018) Women in skilled trades
“Trades have typically been the domain of men; there is still only about four per cent of the positions held by women in this country,” said Hajdu.
“As we see the labour shortage tighten, and the sparsity of people entering the trades continue, unions and trainers have been talking about this awesome opportunity for people who don’t typically see themselves in the trades.”
Hajdu says this includes women, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and newcomers to the country.
“Now the challenge is making sure we have enough people and have enough skills, so our government has been focused on making sure we not only support the development of jobs through investments and innovation, but also that we invest in people’s skill development.”
She says the thing she hears most frequently as the minister of employment is that “employers are looking for skilled people.”
This project is funded under the Union Training and Innovation Program’s (UTIP) Investments in Training Equipment Stream.