Skills Gap in Ontario – A Chief Training and Skills Officer and a Skills Guarantee

In the period October 2016 to March 2017, Maxim Jean-Louis, President- Chief Executive Of cer of Contact North I Contact Nord was requested by the Ontario Skilled Trades Alliance to carry out an engagement process with its members to help determine a transformative vision for apprenticeship training in Ontario.

We are all challenged to do more, but just doing more of the same will not be sufficient.


The consultations were aimed at exploring specific and concrete ways of closing the skills gaps that exist in the province. The conclusion of these discussions is there are three levels of the skills gap challenge to be addressed:

1. Reputation.
2. Skills and Qualifications.
3. Lifelong Learning and Continuous Skills Development for Trades (CSDT).


Our responses to these three opportunities for rethinking skills and apprenticeship are:

1. Changing Mindsets – Trades as top of mind option

It starts at the elementary school…In junior high and high school…For college and university students…For a wider public…For seniors

A Chief Training and Skills Officer

To support a creative and innovative approach to trades education and the positioning of trades, a new government position – Chief Training
and Skills Of cer – who champions the skilled trades across a range
of government ministries (Labour, Advanced Education and Skills Development, Education, Research and Innovation) and agencies (Ontario College of Trades) is needed. This role champions the skilled trades at the highest levels of government and promotes the skills agenda. The person appointed should report directly to the Minister, Advanced Education and Skills Development on the status of skills employment and trades training in Ontario. This position should include speci c targets for recruitment, retention and completion for apprenticeships; a mandate to accelerate success for skills development in the skilled trades; support for the reduction of bureaucracy and complexity related to apprenticeship and the role of oversight of the skills agenda. Such centralized accountability would ensure fast-action on the Governments skills agenda.

A Skills Guarantee

The European Union, in its skills agenda, proposed the development in each member country of a skills guarantee. Such a guarantee has three components: offering to every adult who does not possess a post-school certi cate, diploma or degree: (a) a skills assessment, enabling them to identify their existing skills and their upskilling needs in a skills domain of interest to them; (b) a package of education or training tailored to
the speci c learning needs of each individual; and (c) opportunities to have their skills validated and recognized. This enables “gap-based” personalized learning agendas to be developed as well as increasing the pipeline of people wishing to pursue skills.

Ontario’s skills guarantee, using anytime assessment systems which leverage emerging technologies for assessment, would enable those with skills to be certi ed whether or not they have completed formal programs of study. It would also enable many to complete apprenticeships they long ago abandoned.

Such a guarantee could create new, exible routes to completion for apprenticeship programs and enable Ontario to signi cantly improve productivity and competitiveness of those companies and organizations which depend on the skilled trades.

2. Rethinking Apprenticeship

Changing the Model of Apprenticeship and Developing Flexible Routes to Certification …

3. Lifelong Learning for Skills and Trades

Requiring Continual Professional Development for Trades (CPDT)…

Resilient and Adaptive Trades…

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at An apprenticeship skills agenda: executive summary


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