KENORA – Now that high school students have graduated and begun the next chapter in their lives, they are presented with a number of options. Some may choose to directly enter the workforce, or perhaps take a role in a family business or simply gain some real-life experience before making a career decision. Others may decide to continue their education at college or university, either here at home or abroad. While others may choose to begin a trade and apprenticeship program. Regardless of the path they choose, there are a number of programs and supports in place to help graduates prepare for the jobs of the future.
To fill the skilled trades shortages, the federal government is investing $46 million over five years to develop and enhance pre-apprenticeship training. To encourage more young women to enter the trades, the Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women will invest $19.9 million in a five year pilot project where women would receive a new grant of $3,000 for each of their first two years of training. This, in combination with the existing Apprenticeship Completion Grant valued at $2,000, would provide a total of $8,000 to support the required training to become a welder, pipefitter, or any other skilled trade worker.
For youth looking to continue their education at a post-secondary institution, the government increased the Canada Student Grants program by 50%, which puts up to $3,000 more in the pockets of students who need it most over the course of their education. This incentive alone made postsecondary education much more affordable for 490,000 students during the 2017-18 school year.
We also introduced the Student Contribution, which means students will only be expected to provide a contribution of between $1,500 and $3,000 per academic year. All of these investments mean more students will be able to continue to work and gain valuable job experience without having to worry about a reduction in their level of financial assistance. This is great news for everyone
To help give students valuable on-the-job experience, over 84,000 new student work placements will open by 2023-24. This includes more co-op placements for students in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and business programs. There will also be a greater focus on creating more opportunities for women and Indigenous students.
To help ensure financial security after graduation, we increased the threshold for the Repayment Assistance Plan, so students don’t need to start repaying their student loan until they find a job and are making at least $25,000 per year.
Training doesn’t have to end after starting a job. With the new Canada Training Benefit, employees will now have the time and financial resources to keep their skills up to date. The new program will provide $250 per year up to a lifetime limit of $5000 to help cover the cost of training, and up to four weeks of income support through Employment Insurance to help cover lost income while training. As important, employees will now have the security of knowing they will have a job to come back to when their training is done.
Leaving high school and choosing your next path in life can be exciting, but it can also be daunting. Whatever path you choose, you need to know that it is the right one for you. Through the investments made to support students financially throughout their post-secondary education and into their career, we are ensuring that they are prepared for the ever-changing workforce of the future.
I believe that education, no matter what form it takes, is the key to life success. I again want to congratulate the Class of 2019 and I want to wish each of you the very best as you begin the next chapter of your life. With a strong work ethic and the necessary supports that we have put in place, I am certain that each of our graduates can look forward to a promising and exciting future.
Bob Nault MP