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Home Employment Explore careers in skilled trades and technologies in Ontario

Explore careers in skilled trades and technologies in Ontario

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Many immigrants coming to Canada are attracted by the skilled trades & technologies sector because it’s a great career choice with rewarding pay. In Canada, some experience this industry for the first time, while others continue to work in their fulfilling trades & technology careers by using the skills they learned in their countries of origin before moving here.

In this video, we talk to Ian Howcroft, the Chief Executive Officer of Skills Ontario, about their efforts to promote the trades in Ontario and build a robust workforce as well as what makes the skilled trades and technologies a promising career choice for newcomers and Canadian youth.

Our reporter Shruti Dargan also speaks with Safia Javed, the Community Outreach & Engagement Coordinator at Skills Ontario who tells us all about their first-ever Virtual Trades and Tech Discovery Day for New Canadians on August 26, 2021. This free-for-all event aims to educate newcomers to the country about the trades, its career advancement prospects as well as the pathways and support programs available for newcomers to Ontario. Watch the interview for information about the event, exhibitors, activities, and how to register.

Video transcript

Shruti Dargan:
On New Canadians today, we are joined by Ian Howcroft, the Chief Executive Officer of Skills Ontario. And we’ll be talking about the skilled trades and technologies in Ontario. Welcome Ian.

Ian Howcroft:
Welcome and thank you very much for joining us here at our offices in Waterloo.

Shruti Dargan:
Tell us what makes the skilled trades and technologies a promising career in Canada?

Ian Howcroft:
Well I think there’s an awful lot of opportunities for skilled trades and technology careers. You can get an excellent career by studying to be an electrician, auto mechanic, any of these areas, the timing and length of a schooling that varies depending on what the, the particular trade is. But once you’ve got that, the doors are open for you. You know, you can be earning significant compensation when you’re 22, 23, 24, you can take an apprenticeship and you can earn while you’re learning. And then you can go on from there. Some people want to, to hire others, want to create a business, entrepreneurial opportunities to focus on what they still love to do, perhaps in the skilled trade or technology area, but they want to grow a business around that too. So there’s a lot of opportunities. And just because you become a skilled trades person in one area, doesn’t mean you have to stay there. You know, a skilled trade can give you an excellent life, uh, an excellent compensation package, but can also open doors for you to move forward into other areas, if that’s what you want. We’ve been around for just over 30 years now and our goal, our raison dêtre is to promote skilled trades and technologies to young people. There’s a lot of people that have a negative stigma around the skilled trades and technology opportunities, and there’s a lot of people just normally think about them at all. So we’re here to help promote the ideas of skilled trade careers and make sure they have access to the information that they need.

Shruti Dargan:
How does Skills Ontario prepare newcomers to the country to enter the fields and grow within?

Ian Howcroft:
Well, we already have a huge skills gap in Ontario and in Canada, we’ve relied on immigration for decades, and that’s going to be an even more important audience that we have to get to, to make sure they’re aware of these opportunities and that we’re taking advantage of this pool of talent. We are having our first discovery day for newcomers, and we’re all excited about that here at Skills Ontario, because it’s allowing us to do what we do and the promotion of skilled trades and technologies to young people. But we’re now looking at other audiences that we want to get to and newcomers, new Canadians is certainly a target that we want to make sure that we’re maximizing and leveraging to the advantage of the economy, to the advantage of those individuals, and to deal with this skills, skills gap.

Shruti Dargan:
So Skills Ontario has an exciting event coming up for newcomers to the country. Tell us about that.

Safia Javed:
We’re very excited to host our very first Virtual Trades and Tech Discovery Day for New Canadians, it’s free to attend for everyone and it’s happening on August 26th. The event will be live from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Shruti Dargan:
So attendees of this Discovery Day will get a chance to interact with tradespeople and exhibitors. Tell us more about the event, what can one expect?

Safia Javed:
We want to showcase the amount of career opportunities there are available in the skilled trades and technologies sector for new Canadians. And we want to show them different pathways on how to get into these careers. And we want to tell them how lucrative these jobs are and how much in demand these jobs are in Ontario these days. So we have a keynote speaker session from RBC who has graciously agreed to sponsor this event. Attendees will have a chance to interact with various Ontario college representatives as well. We have Mohawk College and Seneca College focusing on their language programs. We have Centennial College who will be discussing their manufacturing courses for newcomers. We have different settlement organizations that we’ll be talking about their bridging programs like IWC and Skills for Change. We also have two panels for mentors; attendees will be able to gain information on how these mentors actually came into the country and they pursued a skilled trade career and how they became successful in their trades now. We will be talking to a gentlemen who came to Canada who became a general labourer, and he was a general labourer for a number of years, but he was not satisfied with his work. And he decided to pursue a certification in welding. He actually was sponsored to do that, so he didn’t pay anything out of pocket and now he works for CWB, who’s also one of our sponsors for this event. So attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions for all these mentors and gain knowledge from their experiences as well.

Shruti Dargan:
So since this event is virtual is it open for all or who all can attend?

Safia Javed:
It is completely virtual and it is free to attend. And anyone who is a newcomer to Ontario, who is on a temporary work visa, who is thinking about coming to Ontario or who will be landing in the next couple of months or years, they will highly benefit from this event. People will have booths that they can go to, people can hop from one booth to the other. We have a video conferences available. So if you have a question you can ask any of the booths, like a video question via Zoom. We have prizes to give away; people can actually have swag bags and everything, and for a whole list of attendees (exhibitors and panelists), if you, if you need a whole list of attendees (exhibitors and panelists), go on our website and all of the information is on our Skills Ontario website,

Shruti Dargan:
Thank you for your time Safia and thank you for sharing.

Safia Javed:
Thank you so much for having me. Thanks a lot.

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Check out our other articles on Employment in Canada for New Canadians here.

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