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Ontario is investing over $11.6 million in two projects that will help nearly 1,500 apprentices and journeypersons upgrade their skills in a variety of areas, including welding and steamfitting.

For the first project, the Ontario Pipe Trades Council will receive $10.5 million to deliver training to over 1,000 registered apprentices and journeypersons. The funding will help participants attend virtual and in-class training to upgrade their skills and support the purchase of specialized equipment.

A little over $1 million of those funds will go to the Joint Training & Apprenticeship Committee Local 46 Training Centre to deliver six to eight weeks of training per level of in-class training in the welder, steamfitter and plumbing trades. Eligible apprentices will be able to receive income support while attending full-time schooling. They can also apply for financial incentives such as a basic living allowance, commuting allowance and dependent care.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were over 304,000 jobs going unfilled in Ontario. Steamfitters earned an average hourly wage of $30.76 in 2021 while welders earned an average hourly wage of $25.81. Data suggests the need to replace retiring workers is elevated in the skilled trades. In 2015, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were over the age of 55.

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