THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Ontario’s colleges expressed disappointment following the Ontario government’s announcement of funding for new skilled trades training centers, in which colleges were excluded. The government announced a $224 million investment to construct and upgrade private training centers, with a further $75 million to be spent on operations and programming at the centers over the next three years.
Confederation College President Kathleen Lynch voiced her disappointment, saying, “This is hugely disappointing for our students, our college, and employers in our community. Colleges provide many of the best opportunities to prepare students for careers in the skilled trades and should have been a major part of this announcement.”
Colleges play a significant role in skills training, including delivering over 80% of the in-class portion of apprenticeship training. The province is experiencing an increasing shortage of qualified individuals in key sectors, including the skilled trades, technology, and healthcare, with nearly 300,000 jobs remaining unfilled.
Colleges are calling on the government to improve and expand existing infrastructure and work with the sector to support a collaborative approach to skills training, enabling more individuals to enter the trades and find rewarding careers.
“Investing in our existing aging facilities to create modern infrastructure makes good economic sense,” Lynch says, “We want to be able to offer our students the best possible learning environment. That means Ontario should be investing in the high-quality trades and apprentices programming at our colleges.”