By Robin Maclennan
Ottawa Construction News staff writer
The Ontario government has announced $2.7 million to help 65 electrical workers upgrade their skills and meet the demand for qualified electricians in eastern Ontario.
Led by KE Electrical based in Carp, the free program will provide participants with the training needed to progress from labourer to apprentice, apprentice to journeyman, and journeyman to foreman. This will help electrical workers earn more take-home pay for themselves and their families, while tackling the critical shortage of skilled trades workers the province faces.
“Right across the province, we’re facing historic labour shortages with thousands of jobs going unfilled in skilled trades each and every day,” Premier Doug Ford said in a June statement. “Programs like these are helping to ensure we have the skilled workforce to build the homes, schools, hospitals and infrastructure projects our growing province needs.”
Across Ontario, at least 1,600 more electricians are needed– a number projected to grow in the coming years, with one-in-three skilled trades workers aged 55 or over and nearing retirement.
This project will provide new and existing KE Electrical workers with the chance to participate in 8,500 hours of hands-on training focused on learning technical skills and abilities, health and safety, professional development and other critical industry skills.
“When you have a career as an electrician, you have a career for life,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “That is why our government will continue to invest in ground-breaking training programs that help people gain the skills they need to advance their careers and build Ontario.”
Training will be delivered at sites across eastern Ontario and will be free to all employees, while mileage and other travel expenses will be reimbursed.
“KE Electrical Ltd. wishes to thank Premier Ford and Minister McNaughton for this critical investment,” said company president Gordon Kemp. “This funding will allow us to upskill, retrain, and develop our workforce so we can continue to deliver our crucial services to underserved communities. Together, we are breaking down barriers and stereotypes to ensure that Ontario becomes a leader in training the next generation of skilled tradespeople.”
The project is funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative, which supports innovative programs that connect jobseekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.