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Apprenticeship Programs in Skilled Trades: Support Ontario Youth (SOY)

apprenticeship on a renovation project
apprenticeship on a renovation project

8 min read

Apprenticeship Programs in Skilled Trades: Support Ontario Youth (SOY)

Apprenticeship Programs in Skilled Trades: Support Ontario Youth (SOY)

In 2017, Canada witnessed a youth unemployment rate of 11.10%, which stands twice as high as the rate for the general population. For jobs not mandating a university degree, the unemployment rate soared to 25%. A potential remedy lies in boosting enrolment in apprenticeship programs within the trades industry.

To lend a helping hand, a non-profit organization called Support Ontario Youth (SOY) is now supporting an apprenticeship program for skilled trades in Ontario. 

Why Are Apprenticeships Important?

3 apprenticeship with one contractor inside of  house in construction

Source: Canva

Canada’s skilled trades are already in high demand, and that demand is expected to grow significantly through the coming years. As many as 700,000 skilled trade workers are expected to retire by 2028 — an inevitability which will only increase this demand nationwide. This is especially true for the construction industry as at least 250,000 workers are expected to retire over the next five years.

The increasing demand for skilled workers can be seen in the influx of registrations for skilled trade programs. Last year alone, Ontario increased apprenticeship registrations by 24%. The growing interest in the industry has led to an intriguing situation regarding training in the skilled trades. With programs receiving more funding and becoming more popular and efficient, the landscape is changing.

With the Government of Canada’s 10-year, 36 billion-dollar housing strategy coming to fruition in the coming decade, even new construction businesses are thriving, creating more opportunities for apprenticeships nationwide.

In Ontario, a local organization is actively working on creating such a program: Support Ontario Youth.

Apprenticeship Program: Support Ontario Youth, What Is It?

Young adult participating in the apprenticeship 

Source: Canva

Support Ontario Youth is continuously working on a program that aims to empower and support youth in the province of Ontario. According to their website, the mission of SOY has three major components:

1. Workforce Development

One of the major effects SOY has in construction is the positive impact it can have on workforce development. By providing young people with access to training, mentorship, and job opportunities in the construction industry, the program helps to develop a skilled and diverse workforce that can meet the evolving needs of the sector. Support Ontario Youth has currently supported 1023 apprentices and offered 92 scholarships.

By investing in the development of young talent through programs like SOY, the construction industry can ensure a pipeline of skilled workers for the future, helping to address the ongoing labour shortages and skill gaps that are prevalent today.

2. Diversity and Inclusion

Supporting SOY in construction also has implications for diversity and inclusion within the industry. The program provides opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds, including women, Indigenous youth, newcomers, and individuals from underrepresented communities, to enter and thrive in the construction industry.

3. Community Engagement

Another result of supporting SOY is the positive impact it can have on community engagement. By investing in the development of young people through education, training, and employment opportunities, construction companies can strengthen their ties to the local community and contribute to social and economic development.

By actively engaging with young people through programs like SOY, construction companies can inspire the next generation of industry leaders and foster a sense of pride and ownership in the communities where they operate. This can lead to increased community support, trust, and collaboration, as well as long-term benefits for both the company and the community. Support Ontario Youth has 504 apprentices and the engagement of 336 employers.

Apprenticeship Programs

Support Ontario Youth offers apprenticeship programs in a wide range of trades. Here's everything you need to know.

The Jobs 




306A − Plumber308A − Sheet Metal Worker308R − Residential Low Rise Sheet Metal Installer309A − Electrician (Construction and Maintenance)313A − Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic313D − Residential Air Conditioning Systems Mechanic

429A − General Machinist430A − Tool and Die Maker431A − Mould Maker433A − Industrial Millwright Mechanic442A − Industrial Electrician

310S − Automotive Service Technician

How Does the Program Work?

When applying to SOY, it's for a job opportunity with an employer who is looking to hire an apprentice. As a group sponsor, SOY works with employers who have partnered with their organization to register, sponsor, and support their apprentices. These apprentices, who are working for a SOY employer and are sponsored by SOY, will receive mentorship, support, and guidance throughout their apprenticeship journey.

What Is the Age Requirement to Apply to Support Ontario Youth?

Applicants must be at least 16 years of age to apply but, there is no further age requirement. SOY helps and supports youth and adults of all ages.

How Do I Contact Support Ontario Youth?

To contact Support Ontario Youth, visit their website at for more information. Alternatively, you can contact them via email at or by calling 647-693-8939.

What Does the Construction Industry Think of It?

The demand for apprentices is growing. This is especially true in the construction industry.

The growing interest in the trades is good news for industries such as construction and manufacturing that have struggled in recent years to find skilled workers.

According to Graham Ziegler, who heads the Canadian Centre for Education Statistics at Statistics Canada, "it is Alberta, Quebec and Ontario that are leading this charge." 

Quebec saw most of its growth coming from enrollment in programs for carpenters and electricians, while Alberta saw most of its growth coming from apprentice electricians, plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, and heavy-duty equipment mechanics.

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) also offers an apprenticeship program. SAIT has seen a nearly 20% increase in its apprentices in the last two years, from 5,494 in the 2021/2022 school year to 6,541 so far this year.

Officials expect that interest will continue to grow, and are adding another 1,000 apprenticeship seats for the upcoming school year to meet the anticipated demand. 

"It's a good thing," said Jim Szautner, SAIT's dean of apprenticeship.

"It was very well known that folks in the trades were aging and would age out and retire, so it's very refreshing to see that we are having new folks come in."

According to the construction industry magazine 

Better training creates better workers. This rings true across every industry, but it is essential in construction and real estate development. In Canada, the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program provides designations to skilled trades workers that meet the national standard of quality in their work and examination. Skilled trades training programs have helped grow the number of Red Seal workers dramatically over recent years, preparing students for their upcoming RSE exams. The primary goal of skilled trades training is to create better workers across the country, expanding the construction industry through quality, skill, and efficiency.

In conclusion, the implications of backing the Support Ontario Youth apprenticeship program in construction are both significant and wide-ranging. By investing in the development of young people, promoting diversity and inclusion, and engaging with the community, construction companies can create a more skilled, inclusive, and socially responsible workforce that can drive innovation, growth, and sustainability in the industry. 

Learn More About Apprenticeships in Ontario

Apprenticeship application 

Source: Canva

What Are the Steps to Follow When Looking for an Apprenticeship?

Research the trade that you’re interested in. Find out what the requirements are, including required safety certificates, how many years it will take to complete the apprenticeship, skills needed, and more. The Skilled Trades Ontario website has information on all 144 trades in Ontario, and provides insight on the journey, expectations, and more. To pursue that trade, enhance your resume and cover letter, and seek relevant employment or volunteer roles such as general labourer, helper, or maintenance assistant. Utilise job search websites, cold-calling, networking, and other appropriate methods to discover suitable opportunities.

What Requirements Are Needed to Be a Legal Apprentice in Ontario?

To be a legal apprentice in Ontario, you must have an active Registered Training Agreement (RTA). Your employer, or group sponsor, can register you. Once you have an RTA, you are legally an apprentice in Ontario. 

How Can I Get into a Trade Apprenticeship With No Experience?

For candidates with no prior experience, it's important to actively seek opportunities to gain valuable skills and expertise. Volunteering or working in roles like general labour, landscaping, or maintenance assistance can be beneficial. These experiences demonstrate your familiarity with tools, adaptability to various weather conditions, proficiency in manual labour, ability to work at heights or in confined spaces, and knowledge and exposure to the work landscape – all of which are essential in the skilled trades and are transferable skills that you can highlight. Additionally, consider investing in essential tools, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and obtaining safety training certificates to showcase your readiness for the job. Having a valid driver's license and/or reliable transportation to reach the job site is equally important.

Can an Apprentice Work Alone?

In Ontario, an apprentice must be supervised by a journeyperson.

Can I Get Financial Help to Become an Apprentice?

The Federal Government has financial aid programs to help prospective apprentices. You can find these programs at How to Become an Apprentice.

Find a job in the renovation industry can guide you in your job search in the renovation industry. Tell us about your career prospects, and we'll help you get in touch with contractors who are likely to be interested in your skills, free of charge. Simply fill in our form (it'll only take a few minutes) and we'll take care of sending your candidate application to employers.

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

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Last modified 2024-05-08

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