Industry Insights

More High School Students Looking at Trades as Career Choice

February 28, 2022

Support Ontario Youth boot camps educating youth on trades.

If the students attending the Tools in The Trades Boot Camp initiative are any indication, the future of the trades in Ontario is going to be in good hands.

The Tools in The Trades Boot Camps are intensive one-day events targeting high school students, adults seeking a new career, and potential employers, all who have a vested interest in erasing the ongoing shortage of skilled tradespeople in the labour force. The boot camps are being offered through Support Ontario Youth, which is in the process of facilitating up to 70 of the events across the province. According to Executive Director Stephen Sell, the high-school students signing up to participate are doing so with a real sense of purpose.

“There’s a real engagement level from the students,” said Sell, who has been spearheading the initiative since it launched in 2021. “They’re actually paying attention, doing the work, and not getting distracted like they might in another class. We’ve had many comments from some of the educators to that effect.”

The enthusiasm being displayed by students eager to learn about trade careers is great news for the program, as the ultimate goal is to convert student interest into potential apprenticeships. With approximately half of the boot camps now completed, Sell says he’s confident the initiative is meeting its objectives.

“We expect the majority of the students, once they graduate, to actually be pursuing a trade,” said Sell, who is in the process of planning March events in Ottawa. “The ones that have completed high school are now trying to get employment in the trades.”

While attracting students to attend the boot camps is a primary objective, one of the important aspects of each event is having employers from the trades attend when allowed. To ensure a strong pool of professionals is available Sell continues to look for industry partners.

“The main thing that we keep looking for is to ensure employers are involved,” he said. “Ultimately they’re the ones that will potentially be hiring the kids. The more employers that are aware of what we’re doing the better opportunities there will be for kids to get employment after graduation.”

Despite the challenges of putting on events during times of COVID-19 restrictions, Sell has continued to execute a robust schedule of Tools in The Trades Boot Camps. That has often meant changing dates or moving venues, but the goal remains hosting up to 70 events.

“We have contingency plans for delivery based on whatever the circumstances are,” he said. “Some we’ve done indoors, some we’ve done outdoors. We’ve done a combination of indoor/outdoor. It all depends on the facility and the weather. The team’s been able to deliver them regardless of the obstacles other than outright cancellation.”

The Tools In The Trades boot camps focus on five primary trade sectors: electrical, plumbing, millwright, automotive service technician, and horticulture technician. They represent a great exploratory opportunity for youth and adults to receive first-hand knowledge about Ontario’s skilled trades career opportunities. Interested high school students can talk to their guidance councilors or shop teachers to get more information.

Interested adults and employers looking for potential new apprentice candidates can get more information through the Support Ontario Youth Website.

Source: https://ottawa.citynews.ca/spotlight/more-high-school-students-looking-at-trades-as-career-choice-5044003


More High School Students Looking at Trades as Career Choice

Related Topics: Boot Camp Employment Pre-apprenticeship Skilled Trades Gap

This Employment Ontario Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.