The Ontario government is investing $5.4 million to design and build three mobile tech classrooms that will travel across the province and teach students and young people about the skilled trades.
The classrooms, built and operated by Skills Ontario, will feature hands-on learning stations and simulators for electrical systems, welding, crane operation, auto-painting, tire and brake work, heavy machinery and more.
Over three years, they will let nearly half a million people explore the skilled trades and will help tackle the labour shortage the province faces in a critical industry.
“By 2025, one in five jobs in Ontario will be in the skilled trades. These are rewarding, well-paying careers that you can build a family and a life around,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “That’s why our government will continue to invest in cutting-edge programs that give students the chance to experience the 144 trades and life-changing opportunities available to them.”
To help deliver the province’s ambitious infrastructure plans, including building 1.5 million homes by 2031, Ontario will need over 100,000 new skilled trades workers this decade. These three 12-metre-long Trades & Tech Trucks will travel across the province, providing students an opportunity to explore the skilled trades and speak with industry members, while learning about local training opportunities, colleges and employers.
“Since rolling out our first Trades & Tech truck last year, our mobile classroom has provided thousands of students with hands-on learning experiences,” said Ian Howcroft, CEO of Skills Ontario. “This program ignites an awareness of opportunities in the skilled trades and tech field that inspires more young people to pursue these careers. We want to thank and recognize Minister McNaughton and Premier Ford for the leadership and investments they have provided to build the skilled workforce of tomorrow.”
The government recently announced apprenticeship registrations increased by 24 per cent in the last year – from 21,971 to 27,319 – as more people decide to pursue rewarding, well-paying careers in the industry. This increase, including a 28 per cent jump among women, follows more than $1 billion in investment in the skilled trades over three years, along with the launch of the new government agency, Skilled Trades Ontario.
“Starting in September of 2024, all high school students will take at least one technology education course to create pathways to exciting jobs of the future,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Ontario’s new mobile tech classroom will support 150,000 students every year in learning those critical skills that will set them up for success in a good-paying job.”
The province helped launch the Trades & Tech Truck pilot program in 2022. The first truck reached over 40,000 students and young people, visiting more than 50 events across the province.
This project is funded through the government’s Skills Development Fund, an over $700 million initiative, which supports ground-breaking programs that connect job seekers with the skills and training they need to find well-paying careers close to home.
The new mobile classrooms will be fully operational by the summer of 2024 and will accommodate 150,000 visitors a year.