The Honourable Diane Finley launches the Skilled Trades and Technology Week hosted by Skills/Compétences Canada

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Hi everyone!

It’s a pleasure to be here in the company of such dynamic young people to launch Skilled Trades and Technology Week.

This year’s theme is “trades in history.” And so, there is no better venue to hold this event than in the great museum in which we find ourselves.

It was recently announced by our government that the Museum of Civilization will be renovated and re named the Canadian Museum of History.

It will take five years to renovate this museum and it will take workers from all the skilled trades, using the most advanced techniques and utilizing the possibilities innovation and technology.

This work will be a tangible part of Canadian history, helping to mark Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.

And these workers are ones who are in demand everywhere in Canada.

I know that not all of you here today will decide on a career in the trades or technology—you are still young with an abundance of options in front of you—but I’m confident in saying that your spirit and your passion will take you far.

You are the future builders of this country, and you will have plenty of opportunities to succeed.

Soon, many of you will be building houses, towns, businesses, roads, bridges, technology infrastructure, and more.

What I can say is that the skilled trades are the sectors of tomorrow, where the need for qualified people is most acute, and where many jobs will be created—should this be your path of choice.

Looking around the room today it may not seem as if our population is aging, but it’s a fact that there are now more people aged 65 years and over in Canada than there are people under 24.

Why is this important? Because Baby Boomers are retiring, which is resulting in skills shortages?

Already, employers across Canada are telling us that they are having trouble recruiting enough qualified workers.

That’s the biggest roadblock to economic growth and productivity for Canada as a whole. And that’s not even taking into account that these shortages could get worse.

In June, there were more than 263 000 job vacancies across Canada. Many of those jobs could be filled by young people, young people like you.

The paradox is that many young people who want to work are having a hard time finding jobs.

The rate of unemployment among young people is twice that of the general population.

Clearly, as employers, as governments and as a society, we have a responsibility to give you the means to succeed.

Not just because you represent the future, but because we need you!

You have talent and ideas to spare. We just need to help you acquire the skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.

We also have to help you break the vicious circle that too many young people find themselves in: no experience, no job; no job, no experience.

That’s why the Harper Government is steadfast in our commitment to help more youth gain the experience they need to get jobs now and prepare for the workforce of tomorrow.

This was one of the key targets when we made job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity our top priorities as a government.

Through grants, tax credits and support for training programs, we are supporting apprenticeships and careers in the skilled trades and technology sectors.

For example, you can get up to $4,000 in Apprenticeship Grants to pursue and complete apprenticeship training. To date, our government has provided more than 350 000 of these apprenticeship grants to Canadians.

I strongly encourage you to think about a rewarding career in the skilled trades. Apprenticeship is a great way to get your start, and the grants will help you on your way.
But there is more we need to do.

That’s why we have the Youth Employment Strategy, known as “YES”.

With a budget of $300 million, YES is helping young people, particularly those facing barriers to employment, get the information, skills and work experience they need to make a successful transition to the workplace.

In addition, Economic Action Plan 2012 is investing $50 million over two years in a new initiative under YES that will connect young Canadians with high demand jobs.

Our new approach will match approximately 3 000 young Canadians with jobs in areas where there is a clear need for workers.

Furthermore, we have many resources and tools available to help you plan your careers, learn new skills and find jobs.

Just visit youth.gc.ca. It’s as simple as that.

In today’s environment, it’s more important than ever that all young people develop the skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market.

These employment programs are just one area where our government is doing that.

Of course, to reach our goal, we are continuing to invest in post-secondary education to make it accessible and affordable for all Canadians.

What we want is to have the most educated, most skilled, most innovative workforce in the world. And we can’t create this workforce without you.

I know you are all looking forward to the hands-on demonstrations and the various activities, so I will say only a few more words.

I am a big fan of Skills/Compétences Canada. Their work to raise the profile of the skilled trades and technology is getting solid results.

I thank them for all their dedicated efforts and their commitment to our youth.

Lastly, I encourage you to take this opportunity to learn more about the exciting career options in trades and technology sectors, and have some fun.

I wish you the best of luck in what I hope are very bright futures.

Let’s get on to the demonstrations.

Thank you.

Source: Government of Canada, Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Nov 6/12