Solicited process for projects under the Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness program

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Application period

This solicited process ran from May 13, 2021 to June 28, 2021 at 3:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Note: Only organizations invited by Employment and Social Development Canada can apply.


The Skilled Trades Awareness and Readiness (STAR) program encourages Canadians to explore and prepare for careers in the skilled trades, including those facing barriers, such as:

  • youth
  • women
  • Indigenous people
  • newcomers
  • people with disabilities
  • racialized communities, including Black Canadians

The program supports pre-apprenticeship training including, but not limited to:

  • career exploration opportunities to build awareness of the skilled trades as viable, good quality careers through means such as:
    • career fairs
    • job shadowing
    • mentorships
  • skills training to help participants be ready for apprenticeship training, such as:
    • skills for success (formerly known as essential skills)
    • technical skills
  • work experience to:
    • explore the trades with hands-on job experience
    • form connections with employers
    • increase employment readiness

Eligible organizations can apply for a project up to $3,000,000 per year, up to a maximum of $15,000,000 over 5 years. We expect that projects will begin in winter 2022.


The objective of this process is to fund approximately 10 to 12 projects to support projects that:

  • target non-registered apprentices only
  • focus on one or more of the following objectives:
    • to build awareness of the trades as viable, good quality careers
    • help equip individuals with the skills and supports they need to pursue a career in the skilled trades
    • provide opportunities to explore the trades

Organizations solicited for this funding

We determined that a solicited call for proposals was the most effective process. We identified the organizations and invited them to apply under this funding for the following reasons:

  • their capacity
  • their knowledge on pre-apprenticeship challenges
  • their mandate
  • their experience with pre-apprenticeship

The STAR program has a limited budget available for multi-year projects, for the next 5 years. To fund a diverse range of projects, we have identified:

  • national organizations that are key apprenticeship stakeholders and have:
    • a good awareness of pre-apprenticeship challenges
    • an established relationship with non-registered apprentices
    • received less than $5,000,000 in funding since 2017 under the following programs:
      • Union Training and Innovation Program
      • STAR
      • Women in Construction Fund
  • regional organizations after consulting with provincial and territorial partners


This is a solicited call for proposals. It is open only to organizations invited by Employment and Social Development Canada.

Eligible applicants

Groups eligible for this funding process include:

  • not-for-profit organization
  • for-profit organization
  • municipal government
  • Indigenous organization including:
    • Band Council
    • Tribal Council
    • Self-government entity
  • provincial and territorial government, institution, agency or Crown Corporation

Note: For-profit organizations are eligible if the nature and intent of the activity is:

  • non‑commercial
  • not intended to generate profit

We will not automatically fund the identified organizations. As this is a competitive process, we will only consider for funding those that submit a proposal.

If you want more information on funded grants and contribution projects, consult the proactive disclosure website.

Contact us

If you have questions, or would like to apply, please email us at before June 20, 2021 at 12:00 pm EDT.

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