Ontario spending $4.7M on free training in the auto industry

Ontario is spending $4.7 million to offer free training to a handful of people seeking employment in the province’s emerging electric-vehicle field.

The money will fund a pair of programs designed to provide roughly 360 participants with skills in machine operation, assembly, quality control and logistics, while also preparing automotive technicians.

The first project, managed by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association (APMA), will include three-month paid job placements through a network of more than 300 members.

Jobseekers, including those from underrepresented groups, will complete online and hands-on training focused on manufacturing essentials, health and safety, effective oral communication, planning, troubleshooting and other critical industry skills.

After completing the program, each participant will transition into full-time employment.

APMA President Flavio Volpe said the auto industry “continues to face labor shortages” and this program will help fill jobs.

“Through our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program, we are able to support employers in their efforts to access, train and retain meaningful employment for new hires who may have been historically excluded from these careers,” he said.

The second project, managed by the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA), will help 90 technicians and 70 other jobseekers gain the skills needed to transition to and launch careers in the electric-vehicle industry.

Training will be offered at Conestoga College (Guelph Campus), Fanshawe College (London Campus) and St. Lawrence College (Cornwall Campus) and will consist of in-person classroom and shop components.

“Getting our workers the skills they need and more people into the automotive trades is essential,” said AIA President Jean-François Champagne.

Money for both programs comes from the $700-million Skills Development Fund

Lauren Tedesco, the APMA’s senior vice-president, called the fund “a thoughtful approach to building up our resilient workforce while investing in the next generation of auto workers.”

Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development, said auto jobs “are meaningful, well-paying, and for many people, offer a path to a better life.”

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