< Browse more articles

On Monday HRAI’s Martin Luymes and Dorothy McCabe met with the three provincial “Youth Advisors” to discuss key challenges facing the HVACR sector and the skilled trades sector generally.

The Youth Advisors, appointed in late October as part of the broader consultation regarding the skilled trades governance are Jennifer Green, Skills Ontario, Andrew Pariser, Residential Construction Council of Ontario, and Adam Melnick, Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 95 Ontario.

The discussion focused on how to:

  • Encourage more youth to enter the skilled trades,
  • Address stigmas with the skilled trades,
  • Address barriers in recruiting skilled trades workers,
  • Improve career pathways into apprenticeships and the skilled trades and
  • Support youth in entering and completing their apprenticeship in the skilled trades.

HRAI’s initial recommendations are:

  1. Start where it counts -- include more emphasis on trade career opportunities at the secondary school level.  This should include dedicated personnel in every school who can connect students to trade career opportunities based on interests of demonstrated aptitudes. Rather than designating trades as “Plan B” learning paths, there should be more explicit connection of trades to relevant mainstream academic subjects like math, physics and chemistry (e.g. using examples relevant to HVACR trades).
  2. Promote trades differently -- consider “rebranding” the trades to resonate more directly with the values and priorities of today’s students, which include the desire for meaningful (and well compensated) work, an interest in serving communities, a high comfort level with advanced technologies and concerns about addressing the climate crisis. Dedicate resources and commit to working with industry associations to rebrand and market the building trades as technically innovative and capable of delivering real solutions to issues like climate change and ensuring healthy indoor environments.
  3. Modernize administrative functions -- administrative processes related to the tracking, certification and renewal of apprentices, apprenticeships, the education process and employers’ processes must be digitized as quickly as possible.
  4. Continue the Achievement Incentive Grant -- make this grant permanent and signal to industry, to youth, to parents/guardians and educators that improving the apprenticeship system is a long term strategy which requires ongoing investment to ensure the sector’s sustainability.

HRAI’s full submission is being finalized and will be posted on HRAI’s website in the near future.

For more information, contact Dorothy McCabe at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 274 or email dmccabe@hrai.ca.