Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program
The Government of Canada invests significantly in apprenticeship through grants, loans, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits during in-school training and project funding across various programs.
Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program
Budget 2018 announced the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program to encourage Canadians—including those who face barriers, such as women, Indigenous people, racialized persons, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth—to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades.
The program supports pre-apprenticeship training including:
- career exploration opportunities to build awareness of the skilled trades as viable, good‑quality careers through means such as “try a trade” events, career fairs, job shadowing and mentorships;
- skills training to help participants upgrade essential skills such as literacy and numeracy, and technical skills so they are ready for apprenticeship training; and
- work experience to explore the trades with hands-on job experience, form connections with employers and increase employment readiness.
Union Training and Innovation Program
Through a $25 million annual investment, the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP):
- helps unions improve the quality of training through investments in up-to-date training equipment and materials;
- supports innovative approaches and partnerships with other stakeholders to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes; and
- reduces barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups including women and Indigenous people, racialized persons, newcomers, people with disabilities and youth.
UTIP has two streams:
- The Investments in Training Equipment Stream helps unions purchase new and up-to-date training equipment and materials needed to train workers in the Red Seal trades.
- The Innovation in Apprenticeship Stream focuses on innovative approaches to address challenges limiting apprenticeship outcomes, including barriers to participation and success in the trades for key groups such as women, Indigenous people, newcomers to Canada, persons with disabilities, racialized persons and youth. This stream is open to a range of stakeholders and partners, but unions need to be involved, either as the lead or as a partner on projects.
Women in Construction Fund
Budget 2018 announced the Women in Construction Fund with an investment of $10 million over three years to increase the participation of women in construction trades by helping them progress through their training and retain jobs in the trades.
The Women in Construction Fund, which is expected to benefit approximately 2,800 women over three years, supports projects that target the Red Seal construction trades and focus on:
- attracting and recruiting women into the trades (e.g. site visits, hands-on experiences and career exploration);
- supporting apprentice training and skill development through upgrading of essential skills and a continuum of tailored services for women (e.g. child care, transportation, purchase of tools, coaching and mentoring); and
- supporting employers by developing recruitment and retention tools and supports based on best practices for inclusive and respectful workplaces.
To further support the skilled trades, the Government proposed in Budget 2019 additional new investments:
- $40 million over four years in funding for Skills Canada, starting in 2020–21, and
- $10 million per year ongoing to encourage more young people to consider careers in the skilled trades and technology;
- $6 million over two years, starting in 2019–20, to create a national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a first-choice career for young people;
- a new Apprenticeship Strategy to support apprentices and those employed in the skilled trades, which will help ensure that existing supports and programs address barriers for those who want to work in the skilled trades, and support employers who face challenges in hiring and retaining apprentices;
- a lower interest rate on Canada Apprentice Loans, starting in 2019–20, with the first six months interest-free after a borrower completes their apprenticeship training; and
- the new Canada Training Benefit to help workers find the time and money needed to take training, improve their skills, and build strong and lasting careers.
New commitments under the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Mandate Letter 2019
As a further measure to support the skilled trades, the Government has committed to:
- creating the Canadian Apprenticeship Service in partnership with provinces, territories, employers and unions. This will involve establishing new initiatives so that Red Seal apprentices have sufficient work experience opportunities to finish their training on time and find well paying jobs, including providing up to $10,000 per apprentice over four years for every new position created; and
- continuing to support the work of the national campaign to promote the skilled trades as a top choice career for young people.
Since the introduction of the apprenticeship grants, more than 880,000 grants have been issued to Canadians, representing over $1 billion in funding. This includes more than:
- 620,000 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants;
- 3,600 Apprenticeship Incentive Grants for Women; and
- 256,000 Apprenticeship Completion Grants.
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