This newsletter includes great articles about the highest paying trades in Canada, information about apprenticeships and newcomers, information about Canadian Armed Forces veterans applying their skills in construction and information about Skilled Trades Ontario and their new website. This newsletter also shared the LOCS blog post “Math and the Skilled Trades“. Finally you will find information about Perfectio a magazine by the Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA).
Every issue of The Apprenticeship Connection ends with a great list of resource links.
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To address the developing skilled trades crisis, a crisis that has been created by “pending retirements, a current shortage of certified tradespeople and low Apprenticeship completion rates”, communities will need to work together to support those interested in a career in the skilled trades. This means creating a support system that provides individuals with every opportunity to be successful.
This report highlights the key role Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) plays in supporting individuals, as well as the role LBS has in the larger apprenticeship network. LBS works with community partners, including trainers and employers, to support all parts of the apprenticeship system.
It is important that communities support people entering the skilled trades from high school and through immigration. It is also important that we have supports in place for individuals who:
have been out of school a while and are reentering the workforce
are currently working in other positions, but would like to enter the trades
are working in a skilled trade, but are at risk of leaving
have left the trades, but would consider returning
are not considering the trades because of barriers (this includes access for underrepresented groups)
As this report highlights, LBS programs play a critical role in supporting the success of individuals in each of these situations.
This group makes up a significant pool of workers who have the potential to help communities address the skilled trades crisis. For many, success in the skilled trades will start with support offered by LBS programs.
This report outlines the LBS support available, which includes “foundational and advanced math, interpersonal and soft skills, writing, communication, and digital skills”. Adult training programs also prepare learners for the in-class portion of their Apprenticeship, as well as developing study and test taking skills, which includes preparing to write their Certificate of Qualification (C of Q). LBS can also help individuals obtain the academic requirements they need to enter the trade they are pursuing (e.g., Grade 12 and ACE). Literacy and Basic Skills programs support learners “as they work towards achieving the levels of education needed by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, employers, and unions.”
This report also highlights something “Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) practitioners have long recognized that having a high school diploma or equivalent doesn’t necessarily mean that your skills are at a Grade 12 level – and that not having a high school diploma doesn’t mean you are unskilled.”
LBS can meet the needs of adult learners by offering short-term, targeted programs customized to the needs of their career goal. LBS programs are flexible, self-paced and teacher supported. One-to-one tutoring is also available. Programs are also offered through partnerships with employers and pre-apprenticeship programs.
This research also identified some of the non-academic barriers people face. Support for this group may include learning about the options in the trades so they can make a decision, finding the resources to help access the apprenticeship system and funding options, as well as developing the skills to manage stress, work, school and life responsibilities. LBS has a reputation for being able to access their network of community partners, including Employment Services, to find support for learners.
LBS will continue supporting individual apprentices and highlighting our role as a key partner in strengthening a community wide response to building a path to apprenticeship that is well supported and seamless.
This report was released March 2022. It was researched and written by Community Literacy Ontario in partnership with Laubach Literacy Ontario (LLO), The Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA) and the College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading (CSC). Full Report: Apprenticeship and the Skilled Trades
Both organizations can provide you with current, local Labour Market Information (LMI), including hiring demands, skill requirements and/or wages for any career you are considering, including a skilled trade.
For example, if you are thinking about entering a skilled trade, you can contact them to find out what the job demand is for that specific trade in your region.
LMI Help Desks:
If you are interested in working in City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Northumberland or Peterborough, contact the LMI Help Desk at the WDB to ask for information about the labour market.
If you are interested in working in Hastings, contact the LMI Help Desk at the CFWD to ask for information about the labour market.
Over the years the planning boards in our area have tracked and documented in-demand trades. This list has included Automotive, Electrician, Truck and Coach Technician, Hairstylist and Plumber. We have also seen a demand for Truck Drivers, Early Childhood Educators (ECE), Cooks, Bakers, Carpenters, Heavy Equipment Operators, Automotive Service Technicians, Electricians, Millwrights, Heavy Equipment Mechanics, and Construction Trades Helpers, Labourers.
If any of these trades interest you, contact the LMI Help Desk at either the CFWD (Hastings) or the WDB (City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Northumberland and Peterborough) to ask them for the most up-to-date Labour Market information.
Edge Factor Videos
You can also learn about careers by watching Edge Factor videos developed in partnership with the planning boards:
The new Skills Ontario App is a good place to start.
It is free, easy to download and easy to use. It includes a Popular Careers section where you get examples of jobs such as Web Designer, Chef, Baker, Computer Aided Drafting and 3D Digital Game Artist. You will also find links to events and links to other services.
This app includes a quiz. When you finish answering the questions in this short quiz, you will get a list of careers in the trades that are the best match for you, based on your answers.
You are also provided with information about the pay range as well as a brief job description, job responsibilities, information about where people in this trade work and the education required to work in these trades.
This quiz is a great starting point for anyone thinking about a career in the trades.
Your next step may be doing a skills assessment or further career research.
Our adult training programs can help by offering you an in-depth assessment. Contact us if you are interested in learning more about the skills you have that you will bring to a skilled trade.
There may also be skills you want to develop further before starting your training or registering as an apprentice. For example, you can contact us if you would like to learn about how to use technology such as apps. To learn more about the computer training that will help you prepare to work in the trades, visit our ‘Computers and the Skilled Trades‘ post.
You may also want to take the results of your Skills Ontario quiz to your local employment services office where you can also discuss and explore your options further.
Skills Ontario is an organization that has been promoting skilled trades and technologies in Ontario for over 30 years.
Their mission is “to champion and stimulate the development of world-class technological and employability skills in Ontario youth.” They are “building Ontario’s skilled trades and technologies workforce.” They want to “enable and empower all youth, including women and Indigenous youth, to consider a career in the skilled trades and technologies.” Learn more at the Skills Ontario website.
Note: Although the focus is Ontario Youth (up to age 29), anyone can use this app and the information and resources on their website.
If you would like more information about next steps, contact an adult training program in your area. You can also reach out to Carrie with your questions: .
There isn’t a job that hasn’t been touched in some way by digital technology, and this includes the skilled trades. The type and level of computer skills needed will vary depending on the trade, however, it is safe to say at the very least, basic computer skills are necessary.
The Ontario Government offers a way to search job profiles. Enter a job you are interested in and open the profile. These profiles are full of great information.
If you select the heading “In Demand Skills and Knowledge” you will find a list of skills needed for success in the job. It is common to find Computer Literacy listed in the ‘Foundational’ column for most jobs. You will also find a basic list of the software commonly used on the job. Below is an example of the skills section of the profile for Welders and Related Machine Operators.
Skills needed by Welders and Related Machine Operators
Adult training programs prepare people for success at work and in any ongoing education or training programs they take. This training includes computer training for people who are already registered as an apprentice or those thinking about starting an apprenticeship.
Computers and Software
Adult training programs can help you develop the computer skills you need for success in a college program. If you search for college level programs online, you will find computer and software skills are often listed. For example:
the Heavy Equipment Operator at Fleming lists Computer Skills as being important for students in this program. They also list the technology required: “Students are required to have their own computer, Internet access, webcam and microphone.” It is safe to assume that this hardware is needed to attend online classes.
the Welding program at Loyalist has Computer Applications as a first semester course. The computer applications course includes “Outlook (email), PowerPoint, Word and Excel.”
Online learning is becoming increasingly common in the trades. For example, at least part of most college courses are offered online. Adult training programs can help you prepare for success in taking computer-based training. This may include:
using PDFs, videos and online documents
keyboarding, creating online accounts, logging in and moving around a course, uploading assignments, posting comments, asking questions and completing online tests and quizzes.
using video conferencing software to attend class.
At work and in class you will likely be required to use technology to communicate with others. Our programs can help you develop these online communication skills. This includes:
using smartphones, tablets and computers to send emails and texts to instructors, other students, co-workers, supervisors, customers and suppliers.
At work and in class you will need to be able to use the Internet and Search Engines to research information and resources. In our programs you will have the opportunity to develop your online research skills. This includes:
finding things such as how-to documentation, videos, manuals and information about products and services using websites, blogs, discussion forums and social media.
Our programs can also provide you with support as you develop your skills downloading and using applications (apps). Apps are common in the trades. Some apps are designed specifically for a trade or a company. Other apps are general and can be used by people in any trade. This may include using apps for:
mapping, for calculating, converting and measuring, for estimating, for logging/tracking hours, for ordering, managing projects, managing documents and taking notes, as well as for tool tracking and planning.
Speaking of apps: Visit our blog post about the Skills Ontario App that will help you learn about careers in the trades.
It is helpful to have experience using Virtual Reality since many trades are now using Virtual Reality Simulations, as well as Augmented Reality to provide training. Many employment service organizations have a Virtual Reality option available to anyone interested in a career in the trades. Virtual Reality is a great way to experience a trade before making a career decision. To see some Virtual Reality Simulation options for the trades, visit CareerLabsVR. To learn more about how you can book a Virtual Reality experience, contact an employment services office in your area.
Computers in the Trades – Some Examples
In addition to software, online communication, research, apps and online learning, there are other computer skills needed in the trades. We have provided a few examples below.
The list below represent some of the in-demand careers in the trades in the LOCS area. We have used labour market information from the Centre for Workforce Development and the Workforce Development Board. For a detailed list of in demand trades, visit our Labour Market Information post.
Beside each occupation there is a number. You can click on this number to learn more about the career at the National Occupational Classification site.
“The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing occupations. You can search the NOC to find where an occupation is classified or to learn about its main duties, educational requirements”.
The NOC is currently moving from a four to a five-digit code. You may find the four-digit code still used in some places.
Calculators, Point-Of-Sale systems, spreadsheets (for planning and ordering). There is also software to help with ingredient calculations and for managing costs.
Calculators, word processing, spreadsheets, billing and accounting software, estimating software and computer-controlled layout equipment (measuring tools).
Calculators, spreadsheets, word processing, database, digitally controlled kitchen equipment, Enterprise Digital Assistant and restaurant management software.
Heavy Equipment Operators (73400)
Calculators, GPS, electronic scales, word processing, spreadsheets, database and laser grade control systems, displays and systems-monitoring controls.
Industrial Electricians (72201)
Spreadsheets, database, graphics software, project management software, handheld electrical equipment for electrical readings. They also install and service ethernet and process control systems.
Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers (75110)
Calculators, database, digital multimeters and topographical information.
Electronic Service Technicians (22311)
Calculators, word processing, spreadsheets, database, load and configure software, programs for simulation purposes, diagnostic tools – oscilloscopes, application specific measurement and diagnostic software and apps to run diagnostic tests.
Hairstylists and Barbers (63210)
Calculators, Point-of-Sale systems, digital cameras, database, salon management software, accounting software and industry apps.
If you would like more information about how you can develop the computer skills you will need for success in an apprenticeship, contact an adult training centre in your area or reach out to Carrie Wakeford or at (705) 313-4383.
This newsletter includes information about apprenticeship in Ontario. It explores how Ontario’s adult training and skills development organizations support individual apprentices and the broader skilled trades community. This issue focuses on apprenticeship training, including stories of successful partnerships.
Feel free to forward this newsletter to others who might be interested.
We also offer programs to current apprentices who may need some support through their training. We can even help people prepare to write the Certificate of Qualification (C of Q).
Free, personalized training that you can start right away, both online or in person – what could be easier?
Pre-Apprenticeship – Where to Start
Whether you want training or a refresher, we can design pre-apprenticeship training for you so you are ready to complete your apprenticeship successfully.
We can help you identify the strengths you already have for the trade you want to work in.
We can also help you identify any areas you may want to upgrade or refresh before starting out in a trade.
Some trades even have a ‘trade specific’ assessment. This will help you see what is needed for success in the trade you are thinking about entering.
Computer Skills: You may be interested in gaining computer skills so you are ready to do the in-class part of your training. You may be interested in learning to use tablets that many employers will ask you to use on the job. You might be interested in learning about apps since many trades use apps now. See our post Computers and the Skilled Trades.
Communication: You might be thinking about building on the communication skills you will need for success both in class and on the job.
Math: Many trades rely on various levels of math. If it has been a while since you have taken a math course, perhaps a refresher will help sharpen your skills so trades specific math will be less of a challenge. See our post Math and the Skilled Trades.
Soft Skills: Employers tell us they want employees with skills like problem solving, time management, teamwork, organization and customer service. We can help you sharpen these skills so you can add them to your resume. This will help you catch the attention of an employer.
You will also gain strategies that will help you handle the challenging tasks you may face in class and on the job.
Whatever it is you need to prepare for success in the skilled trades, we can support you in gaining the base skills you will need.
For Current Apprentices
Adult Training and Skills Development organizations also help people who are currently working in a trade or registered as an apprentice but need a bit of extra support in areas such as math, communication, computer skills or soft skills.
As mentioned, we can also help you prepare to write your Certificate of Qualification (CofQ).
Who to Contact?
For more information you can contact any of the programs in your area.
Breaking barriers and fulfilling a need: How Support Ontario Youth (SOY) matches qualified apprentices with employers in the trades sector
This charity is de-stigmatizing what it means to work in a trade and is helping a high-demand industry find much-needed employees.
Working in the trades can be both fulfilling and financially rewarding, but there’s still plenty of work to be done when it comes to dismantling the stigma that this career path is an inferior choice.
It’s something that Support Ontario Youth (SOY), a charity that matches employers with qualified apprentices, aims to change.
“Decades ago, skilled trades were not promoted as a viable career option and was considered a less significant educational pathway. High school students believed that if they could not get into university, then trades were their only option,” explains Glenda Rahn, Program Manager with Support Ontario Youth.
“It has taken the re-educating of some parents, high school guidance counselors and teachers, so that they can better understand the educational pathway of an apprenticeship and how to promote it as a viable career choice that’s equal to, or better, than a university and/or college education. Post-secondary education is usually what people think of when planning to secure a career that pays well and provides purpose in life. Well, we say apprenticeship is also an excellent educational choice too.”
The other misconception SOY is trying to change is that only post-secondary graduates can become apprentices. Rahn says anyone can apply, old or young, even high school graduates. “At the high school level, there’s a lot of work to be done to dismantle the trades stigma. I believe elementary schools should be educating young kids in the many benefits of working in the skilled trades. To have a career where you can work with your hands, think on your feet, problem-solve, proudly build, create and stay physically fit is very rewarding,” she says.
Support Ontario Youth was developed in 2016 by the Ontario Electrical League (an association for electrical contractors) as a way to fill the high demand for apprentices and to be able to support them throughout their apprenticeship journey.
Starting out with 30–40 employers and apprentices in the electrical industry (309A), the organization has since grown to over 150 progressive-employers and more than 200 quality skilled-trades apprentices. SOY has since added plumbing (306A), millwright (433A), residential air conditioning mechanic (313D) and low-rise sheet metal (308R) with a focus on the construction and industrial sectors.
Staff at SOY have also grown from three to 15. This has allowed them to not only mentor and place more apprentices but also partner with organizations whose focus includes supporting underrepresented groups to succeed in the trades. These partnerships also allow SOY to develop a really strong wrap-around support system and ensure candidates are thoroughly supported, mentored and/or partnered with the right organization to help them succeed on their path.
How SOY supports women
SOY has a strong emphasis on making trades accessible and enticing to new Canadians and women. “It’s important that we access all resources and supports that are available to young women because women working in the trades do experience more barriers with finding employment. Working in a male-dominated profession and learning to develop a “thick skin” to finish their apprenticeship is only one of the realities that women have to address to succeed,” says Rahn.
“We recently worked with Build a Dream, an organization that delivers programs to encourage female students to explore careers where women are underrepresented. A few of our apprentices were able to receive a toolkit from them to help support their career. These are the connections and resources that need to come together to continually support apprentices in the trades.”
How SOY supports employers
Ontario is currently facing a labour shortage in the skilled trades. The Ontario government has pledged $90 million over the next three years to increase the appeal and awareness of careers in the trades, provide more funding for an apprenticeship program and provide increased benefits for employers.
According to a report from apprenticeship youth advisors, there were approximately 200,000 unfilled trade jobs in the province in 2019. The government predicts by 2025, as many as one in five jobs will be in the skilled trades, with a shortfall of 100,000 construction workers over the next decade.
SOY is committed to helping address this shortfall by matching high-quality candidates with small to medium-sized employers. They simplify the hiring process by taking care of the recruiting, registering, paperwork and screening for
309A Construction & Maintenance Electrician
313D Residential Air Conditioning Mechanic
308RLow-rise Sheet metal
433A Industrial Millwright Mechanic
Approval to add 442A Industrial Electrician is pending. SOY is working with other industry associations to continue expanding into more trades in the future based on employer support and industry demand.
SOY acts as a one-stop-shop for employers and any supports they need when hiring and training an apprentice. “Part of our role is to support employers who want to hire, but don’t know where to start. We want them to understand that they’re a key part of this apprenticeship system and if there is a hurdle or barrier for them, any, we want to help them overcome it. This saves an employer a lot of time, money and energy when they’re trying to run a business,” says Rahn.
Services and supports include:
Recruitment: With strict pre-screening practices, employers can feel confident they are receiving candidates who have the necessary skills, training and personality for the job.
Access to funding: SOY helps employers by making them aware of funding initiatives from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, as well as understanding and accessing federal initiatives.
Group sponsorship: SOY eases labour management by being a group sponsor. This means SOY holds the registered training agreement for the apprentice, so when an apprentice goes back to school, SOY can find another apprentice for the employer, if needed. This allows for labour mobility and allows them to help the employer keep their business running efficiently.
Retention Support: SOY, in collaboration with each employer, can also offer an Employment Insurance (EI) top-up for their apprentices when they are back in school.
“One of the barriers to completion can be that apprentices don’t financially plan and prepare for the extra costs of going back to school. An apprentice should be budgeting between $1,200 – $1,500 (more if they have “adult bills” to take care of, which is a reality when we consider the average age of an apprentice is 28 years old), for when they get their offer to go back to school. The EI top-up program can be a retention strategy for employers and can alleviate the stress for an apprentice, especially if you are on EI without any other support.”
Giving apprentices a head-start by belonging to a Group Sponsor Organization
Not only do candidates benefit from being matched with employers, they can also take advantage of SOY’s guidance and mentorship on becoming a registered apprentice in Ontario.
For some new apprentices, this includes what to expect on the job, tracking hours and competencies, financial literacy and how to stand out as an “ideal candidate” for an employer.
In the event they do get laid off or find themselves unemployed while apprenticing, SOY works with the individual ensuring that their registered training agreement (RTA) stays active so their apprenticeship can continue funding qualifications and staying on the list for their levelled-schooling are just a few examples of this necessary support.
SOY also provides help with résumé writing and networking to help apprentices stay on track and get placed with another employer in a timely manner.
Employers and aspiring apprentices can find out more on SOY’s website. The organization also offers Tools in the Trades Boot Camps for a variety of sectors where candidates can attend an immersive 1-day workshop which includes guidance on interview skills, résumé writing and workplace etiquette.
In addition to the well-known trades of plumber, electrician and carpenter, the skilled trades also include hairdresser, baker, child and youth worker, educational assistant, roofer, heavy equipment operator, machinist and drywall finisher.
These are just a few of the 144 skilled trades in Ontario.
Although these trades are very different, they have one thing in common – they all need the people in the field to have some math skills.
For a detailed list of the math skills needed in the trades, visit the foundations section of this Trades – Math document.
Don’t worry if it has been a while since you were in a math class or you have realized you are not familiar with everything on this list. Contact any of the free adult upgrading, and training programs for help.
Our adult training and upgrading programs offer assessments to help you pick the skills you need to focus on to get you where you want to go in the trades.
The math section of this self-assessment will give you another list of the math skills needed in the trades.
This assessment includes measurement (metric / imperial), dimensions (area or volume), estimates (time, distance, volume or quantity), ratios and proportions (using scale drawings) and geometry (calculate slopes or elevation).
If you complete this assessment and feel like you might need assistance, contact an adult training program in your area. We can help with training or a math refresher.
Free Adult Training and Upgrading
Adult training and upgrading programs can help you develop the core math skills needed to work in any trade.
We make sure you have the base you need so you are ready to learn trade specific math once you are in an apprenticeship, training program or when you need to learn on-the-job.
Adult training and upgrading programs are for people who are:
thinking about working in a trade
working in a trade
registered as an apprentice
preparing for the Certificate of Qualification (CofQ) exam
We can help you pinpoint the skills you need to develop for the trade you are interested in, which means your training will be customized, short and focused.
There are free workbooks available online. Below you will find two available through the Canadian Government.