Ontario helping train Indigenous people for jobs in construction

Program will remove barriers to construction sector careers for underrepresented groups

A substantial investment providing free mentorship and training in construction would be a positive step forward for the next generation of trades and skilled workers. Don’t take our word for it; the Ontario government is investing $350,000 for up to 60 people in the Sarnia region, most from local Indigenous communities.

“Construction workers are the backbone of our communities, building the hospitals we’re born in, the schools where we learn, the broadband that connects us, the pipelines to heat our homes and the roads we travel on,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. “Now, more than ever, these in-demand jobs can provide a stable, well-paying career path, particularly for those who have been hit hard by job losses in the last year. This investment will help ensure anyone can access opportunities in the trades.”

The project will prepare participants for a range of careers in the construction sector, including cement finisher and construction craft worker, addressing a skilled trades shortage in the local workforce.

“Our government is once again demonstrating its commitment to supporting the skilled trades while promoting inclusion and opportunities in Indigenous communities hit hard by COVID-related job losses,” said Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford. “The construction trade is central to Ontario’s economy and at all times requires workers who are well trained and highly skilled. Participants in this program will learn the foundational skills vital for a life-long, rewarding career in construction.”

The program, led by LiUNA Local 1089 Training Centre, will offer 12 weeks of training, introducing participants often underrepresented in skilled trades to construction safety, material handling, introduction to blueprints and specifications, introduction to construction tools, and scaffolding. These are basic skills needed to move into apprenticeship roles with local employers in construction. Participants will also have the opportunity to gain up to 12 certificates in courses such as tool usage, working at heights, confined spaces and first aid.

LiUNA will work with field representatives and local employers to help participants secure jobs or apprenticeships after training. They are also providing free private transportation to training sessions for all participants.

“LiUNA Training is a gateway to empowering a viable career path in the construction industry. Dismantling barriers and ensuring that opportunity is equally distributed, through outreach and apprenticeship programs, is of utmost importance in advancing opportunities for an inclusive workforce that remains at the forefront of building and strengthening the province,” said LiUNA International Vice-president Joseph Mancinelli.

The project will also prepare 12 current tradespeople to deliver training support to those who are new to the trades through a train-the-trainer program that includes shadowing ongoing courses including pipe laying and construction craft work. This will give them the chance to expand their knowledge while teaching them how to pass on their experience to future journeypersons.

“Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario is incredibly important, providing life-changing skills and opportunities for more than 60 people locally to enter the trades and advance their careers,” said Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey. “Jobs in the construction sector are high-paying and in demand right across the province. I am extremely proud that our government is making this investment, which will help ensure that underrepresented communities in the trades are being given an opportunity to enter this exciting and rewarding career stream.”

Funding comes as part of the government’s $115-million Skills Development Fund to address challenges to hiring, training and retraining workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and is part of the province’s 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy.

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