The Ontario government is responding to labour shortages in the skilled trades by providing support for pre-apprenticeship projects in London.
The projects will prepare more than 100 individuals for jobs and careers.
The province announced Friday it’s investing in four London-based training programs in different trades, including baker-pâtissier, construction worker, brick and stone mason, and educational assistant.
Training programs are free, last up to a year and often mix classroom training with a two- to three-month work placement.
“In London and throughout the province, there are thousands of jobs that go unfilled,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development, during an event at the LiUNA Local 1059 Regional Training Centre Friday morning.
“Those are paycheques waiting to be collected.”
The government recently announced a $20.8-million investment into pre-apprenticeship programs for 2019-20 that aims to create training opportunities for more than 1,800 people across Ontario.
The funding sees an increase of $5 million from the previous year.
According to McNaughton, roughly one in five jobs in the province over the next five years is expected to be in trades-related occupations.
Training is delivered by Ontario colleges, private career colleges, union and non-union training centres and other community organizations.
The province says an investment of $144,000 will go to help the Brick and Allied Craft Union of Canada Local 5 offer 12 participants training to become brick and stone masons and construction craft workers.
Investments totalling $549,580 worth will support LiUNA Local 1059 in offering a combination of classroom training and work placements to prepare 72 participants for jobs in the construction craft worker and cement finisher trades.
The government will provide $131,135 to help Collège Boréal train 11 people to explore career opportunities as child development practitioners and education assistants in schools and daycares.
The London Training Centre will receive $99,888 to provide 12 participants with Smart Serve training, trade-readiness training and work placements to prepare them for jobs as cooks, bakers and chefs.
The government says pre-apprenticeship training promotes careers in the trades as an option for all Ontario residents, including youth at risk, new Canadians, women and Indigenous people.
According to Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, there were around 9,600 jobs vacant in the London Economic Region and 23,600 in Southwestern Ontario in the third quarter of 2019.