Credit to Author: Staff Writer| Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2022 20:46:20 +0000
Did you know that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can receive up to $20,000 per year to hire up to two apprentices through The Red Seal Apprenticeship Service? Introduced last June, The Bridging Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Service Program is offered through Family Services of Peel. According to Sandra Rupnarain, Executive Director of Family Services of Peel, the program will serve 250 apprentices by the end of the project in 2024.
“This is the first of its kind apprenticeship program offered by the Federal government with incentives to SME companies who participate,”
says Rupnarain. SMEs are companies with fewer than 499 employees.
They can register and hire apprentices in any of the 39 Red Seal Skilled Trades, including everything from manufacturing, construction, plumbing, carpentry, etc. The SMEs can hire and sponsor two apprentices per fiscal year until 2024. If they hire one apprentice, they receive $5,000, but if they employ an apprentice who is female, racially marginalized or has a disability, that amount doubles.”
The Apprenticeship Service Program is a way to address the growing shortage of skilled labour and certified journeypersons in Canada, which is nearing a crisis level, states Rupnarain.
“We have formed an advisory council, and we realized that many workers are in their 50s and 60s and are looking to retire soon,” she says. “The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the problem as many people didn’t return to work. Trades, in general, have been given a bad rap. Trades had a negative image of dirty blue-collar jobs involving heavy lifting and low pay. This negative image also gave women the sense that trades were not for them. Much of this is not true, as many tradespeople can earn over $100,000 per year, depending on the industry. The government is very invested in working with employers to shift this negative image as we work with SMEs toward equity, diversity and inclusion. A key advantage to the SME is that this is a fantastic way to attract new talent and upskill their workforce.”
The program is simple and streamlined to match apprentices with SMEs.
“You are not just hiring a stranger — the candidates are vetted through the Apprenticeship Service. Applicants go through various assessments and are provided with First Aid and CPR training, and we provide an opportunity to help improve literacy and other skills as needed. We talk about things like loyalty, commitment and expectations to address the issue of job retention. The future belongs to skilled trades, and employers can have full confidence we are invested in providing quality, vetted apprentices.”
Employers can register for the apprenticeship program and have their application approved by the Ministry of Labour to participate.
“The greatest need is in the manufacturing and construction industry,” says Rupnarain. “Another business advantage is the familiarity an apprentice will have with their employer, as it’s not only the Red Seal standards that are being attained. But an understanding of the unique operations of the workplace with the added benefit of less resistance to criticism as they are there to learn. And if a company has someone in mind who they feel would make a great apprentice, they can apply to the program. We collaborate with companies through the apprenticeship program, not just at the beginning.”
In terms of financial incentives, both the apprentice and employer are in an advantageous position.
“The apprentice enrolled in the Red Seal Skilled Apprenticeship Service will gain invaluable experience and accelerated growth to becoming a skilled tradesperson. The business will be able to facilitate this process at a far lower cost to the company than employing a fully trained worker,” says Rupnarain. “We launched the program in June and have received a positive response from the industry and several apprentice applications. The Red Seal Skilled Trades Apprenticeship Service is a win-win situation for both the employer and the apprentice.”
To learn more about the program, visit https://www.apprenticeredseal.ca.
Sponsored by: Family Services of Peel