Career fairs coming to Mississauga, Hamilton and Oshawa this fall
Published September 5, 2023 at 8:53 am
The Ontario government is hoping to double the number of students headed down the skilled trades path with ten career fairs planned over the next three months, including stops in Hamilton, Mississauga and Oshawa.
Level Up! is a series of multi-day career fairs highlighting the 144 skilled trades, from electricians to boilermakers. In the program’s debut last year nearly13,000 students, parents, friends and teachers visited the fairs.
This year, with Hamilton (Oct. 17-18) and Oshawa (Nov.21-22) being two of the four extra stops, the Province – specifically the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development – is hoping for 25,000 participants.
The Mississauga career fair will be November 15-18 at the International Centre (Hall 1). Hamilton’s event will take place at the First Ontario Centre while’s Oshawa’s career fair will be at the Tribute Centre.
The students, from grades 7-12, as well as parents and jobseekers, will have the opportunity to learn about the skilled trades through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities with tradespeople and local employers.
The first fair kicks off September 19 and 20 in Thunder Bay and will continue with fairs in communities across the province.
Ontario will need over 100,000 new skilled trades workers this decade to help build the province, making it crucial for more young people to have the opportunity to unlock their potential in the trades, said Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
“Last year’s career fairs were a phenomenal success, giving thousands of students and their families exposure to the many career opportunities in the skilled trades,” Ford added. “These expanded fairs will help us attract more young people into the trades and develop the skilled workforce our growing province needs.”
The aim, the province declared, is to bridge a labour gap that will see more young people look for careers in the trades.
“For far too long, parents and students have been told the only way to succeed in life is by going to university – this is simply not true,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “There are lucrative and purpose-driven careers waiting in the skilled trades.”
In addition to the career fairs, the province has also earmarked $24 million for the Apprenticeship Capital Grant program in 2023-24, which will help 66 training institutions across Ontario upgrade training equipment and existing facilities that support hands-on learning for students and apprentices.
Apprenticeship registration increased by 24 per cent last year to 27,319 as more people joined the skilled trades, following a $1 billion investment in the skilled trades over the past three years and the launch of Skilled Trades Ontario as part of the Province’s strategy to attract more people into the trades.
There are 1.2 million people working in skilled trades-related occupations in Ontario, with one in three 55 or over and nearing retirement.
“The expansion of skilled trades career fairs in Ontario will provide greater awareness for the tremendous opportunities found within the trades,” said Jonathan White with the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. “The government commitment to promoting meaningful careers to our youth will be key. “
Students interested in attending the career fairs are encouraged to contact their school board’s Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) recruiter, a teacher or school guidance counsellor to register.
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It’s no secret that Ontario is facing a historic labour shortage.
There's no better way to experience the trades than by speaking directly to tradespeople and trying hands-on activities – and that's exactly what we're doing with the career fairs.
Together, we're building ON. pic.twitter.com/tIflRA6AYw
— Monte McNaughton (@MonteMcNaughton) September 3, 2023