Careers in the Trades Overview

“We need more young people to know university isn’t the only path to success in life,” said David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “Under the leadership of Premier Ford, our government will continue to invest in expanding opportunities for students and young people so everyone in Ontario has a fair shot at a life-changing career.”

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a specialized high school program that gives students who have completed Grade 10 the chance to explore the trades through cooperative education courses. The government is expanding OYAP with a $21.1 million investment to help more students across the province gain exposure to the skilled trades by accumulating hours toward an apprenticeship while completing their Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The province is also sending 72 OYAP recruiters into more than 800 secondary schools to compete directly with colleges and universities.

“Ontario’s plan to go back to basics includes a renewed focus on hands-on learning that integrates learning with working in the skilled trades,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “This significant increase in pre-apprenticeships, the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and the deployment of recruiters into 800 high schools across Ontario will help students jump-start their careers in the skilled trades and access good-paying jobs in communities small and large.”

The government is also investing $41.8 million to launch roughly 100 pre-apprenticeship training projects around the province to help young people get first-hand experience working in trades that can pay six figures such as welding, electrical and arboriculture. Pre-apprenticeship training is free for participants while costs for textbooks, safety equipment and tools are all covered. Courses can last up to 52 weeks and include an 8–12-week paid work placement with a local employer.

This announcement was made at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 353 in Toronto. With a $1.3 million investment from the Skills Development Fund Training Stream, IBEW has launched a free project to prepare 48 people from underrepresented groups as electricians in the Greater Toronto Area. The program includes a free 15-week bootcamp on essential electrical skills and health and safety, along with a 10-week paid job placement with a local employer and a pathway to an apprenticeship.

Quick Facts

  • Apprenticeship registrations increased by 24 percent in 2023, from 21,971 to 27,319.
  • In total, there were 91,634 apprentices active in Ontario as of April 3, 2023.
  • For more information on pre-apprenticeship training programs, contact Employment Ontario by phone, e-mail, or live chat.
  • There are 144 skilled trades in Ontario.
  • Ontario also offers Dual Credit and Specialist High Skills Major job skills programs that support secondary students to explore careers in the skilled trades.
  • SDF Training Stream and Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program are supported by labour market transfer agreements between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.


“Expanding foundational skills programs, such as OYAP, means that more young women will have the opportunity to enter the skilled trades and build rewarding careers. When women and girls pursue the skilled trades, they are preparing for exciting and in-demand jobs with good pay and benefits. And when women succeed, Ontario succeeds.”

– Charmaine Williams
Associate Minister of Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity


“With our province facing a critical and historic labour shortage, it is more important than ever that we build the skilled workforce needed to meet this challenge. Today’s announcement by Minister Piccini further strengthens the record investments being made to train the next generation of skilled trades professionals here in Ontario.”

– Melissa Young
CEO & Registrar of Skilled Trades Ontario


“LiUNA Training Centres have been providing Canadians with the opportunity to participate in and graduate from world-class Apprenticeship Programs for several decades. LiUNA Local 625, including all of its Apprentices and Graduated Journeypersons, applauds the Ford Government’s continued commitment to promoting the Skilled Trades in Ontario as an attractive and lucrative post-secondary option. This crucial support complements LIUNA’s commitment to Building Better Communities in Ontario.”

– Carmelo Calcara
Training Director at LIUNA 625


“This investment in youth apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programming is significant as it will help postsecondary institutions create a stronger talent pipeline in sectors that need skilled workers now and in the future.”

– Candace M. Miller, EdD
Executive Director, Business Development & Strategic Support, Fanshawe College


“There continues to be an acute need for skilled trades workers in the province. With financial support from the Government of Ontario, Mohawk College has been successfully preparing students for stable and fulfilling skilled trades jobs through pre-apprenticeship programs. As one of Ontario’s largest providers of skilled trades training, we welcome this announcement and the opportunity to provide even more students with access to promising careers.”

– Ron J. McKerlie
President & CEO, Mohawk College


“Anishinabek Employment and Training Services (AETS) is excited by Minister Piccini’s announcement today regarding the increase in funding for skilled trades programs. AETS provides training and educational opportunities for youth and adults throughout their career continuum from 9 First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario and are encouraged to hear that funding is expanding to address the severe shortage of skilled workers in the region. This type of funding allows AETS to go above and beyond regular course curriculum by providing additional employment skills training that includes resume building, teamwork and collaboration, problem solving, and communication skills, ensuring that our graduates are ready for success. Thanks to support from the Ministry and our partners, this week, we are celebrating the graduation of 49 men and women from this year’s construction and mining programs.”

– Jeff Werner
Programs Manager, Anishinabek Employment and Training Services

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