TORONTO - The Ontario government is strengthening the skills of apprentices and tradespeople with an investment in the province's apprenticeship system, Mary Anne Chambers, Minister of Training, Colleges, and Universities, announced.

"Our plan is to build an economy based on high skills and high standards," Chambers said. "An important part of achieving that goal is strengthening our greatest competitive advantage: the skills and expertise of Ontario's workers."

"This investment shows the McGuinty government's commitment to creating a truly dynamic, innovative, and competitive workforce in Ontario," said Joseph Cordiano, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. "Our plan gives Ontario's workers the tools and skills they need to build exciting futures, with the high quality and high paying jobs they deserve."

The province is providing $37 million to Ontario's apprenticeship system to:

  • Give more apprentices hands-on training and better classroom instruction by updating facilities and equipment at 24 community colleges through the $20 million apprenticeship enhancement fund.

  • Help more than 600 experienced workers develop their skills to be eligible to become apprentices by investing $6 million in the pre-apprenticeship program. This program includes a workplace placement for participants that can last up to 40 weeks.

  • Give apprentices greater access to skilled trade courses at seven more colleges by expanding the $6 million co-op diploma apprenticeship program.

  • Help internationally trained individuals become certified in Ontario so they can enter the job market quicker through a $5 million investment in the apprenticeship innovation fund.

    "Thanks to provincial government support, George Brown College can expand its ability to serve local employers wanting to train their skilled workers and provide more opportunities for people to pursue rewarding careers in the skilled trades," said Joy McKinnon, dean, faculty of technology, George Brown College.

    The announcement builds upon the government's previous initiatives to offer an apprenticeship training tax credit for employers to cover a portion of the wages of new apprentices and to provide 1,500 scholarships of $1,000 each to students who have left high school then returned to graduate and enter an apprenticeship program.

    "Apprenticeship training is a very attractive career option for our young people to consider, along with a college and university education," said Chambers. "By strengthening our apprenticeship system we are building the strong economy Ontario needs for continued prosperity."

    Publication date: 04/25/2005