Finance Minister Charles Sousa with Premier Kathleen Wynne: Ontario Budget 2015Click image to enlargeThe Canadian Welding Association (CWA), part of the CWB Group, has applauded Ontario budget's focus on skilled trades training.

 The Ontario government, which released its budget on April 23,  outlines a $250 million investment over two years in the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy, bringing the government's total investment in youth employment programs to more than $565 million. 

Specifically related to skilled trades, in 2014-2015, the provincial government invested approximately $164.5 million in an apprenticeship system. According to the government, as a result of the government's investments and support of the apprenticeship system, new annual apprenticeship registrations have grown to more than 28,000 in 2013-2014 from 17,000 in 2002-03. 

In the new budget, Ontario plans to invest an additional $13 million over two years for pre-apprenticeship programs to help potential people applying to the apprenticeship system develop their job skills and readiness to find work. It is also investing $19 million over three years to support in-class trainign for apprentices delivered by colleges and other training delivery agents. And it's investing $23 million over two years in the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund to help train more people and deliver relevant, quality apprenticeship programs.

At the secondary school level, the Ontario government is launching a new pilot program to help recent high school graduates identify their future goals and choose their post secondary education path.

The welding industry employs over 300,000 individuals from coast-to-coast, contributing over $5 billion to the Canadian economy. However, the industry faces a shortage of highly trained welders, with the average age for the most skilled welding positions approaching 60.

"The funding commitments in the Ontario Budget are an important step in addressing the skills shortage in the welding industry," said CWB Group president Doug Luciani. "We thank Minister Souza for investing now in the skilled trades to ensure Ontario’s continued economic growth in the future.”

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