We are making record investments in infrastructure and today were announcing measures to ensure that people have the skills they need to take advantage of the good jobs that these investments will create, said Minister Oswald. Working together with industry, we will make sure that valuable on‑the-job training is available and the supports are in place for trainees to get certified.
The minister said the province will require that apprenticeship training opportunities be included in public works contracts undertaken by the Government of Manitoba and designated public-sector entities. She added apprenticeship opportunities within the Government of Manitoba will also be increased through a new Student Apprentice Work Experience Program for high school students and a new co-op program to link college graduates to apprenticeship opportunities in the public sector will increase the hiring of apprentices by government departments.
Apprentices need to be signed up and trained to ensure a strong future for our province, said Ed Spitzer, owner of Nickel Electric, a company that hires apprentices. These measures will ensure that apprentices are being hired and getting proper training so that they can stand on their own feet as successful journeypersons.
The minister also announced a new bursary program for final-year apprentices, which the province will fund in the amount of $50,000 each year. Apprentices in their final year will be able to apply for the $1,000 bursary which will be selected based on industry demand and individual financial need.
Training and certification in the trades in Manitoba is key to meeting the infrastructure needs in this province. These strategic initiatives and investments will help increase accessibility to the trades and help employers meet labour market demand, said Peter Withoos, vice-president, Winnipeg Construction Association. Manitoba needs a skilled workforce in order to move this province into the future. The initiatives [recently] announced encourage employers to hire and train apprentices and that is key to meeting infrastructure needs. We are supportive of skills strategies that ensure that trades training is a priority.
In addition, Minister Oswald noted that in 2014 people will be able to receive accreditation as power-line technicians with on-the-job training offered by Manitoba Hydro.
Investments in infrastructure and increased access to apprenticeship will grow the economy and help us reach our goal of adding 75,000 new workers to the Manitoba labour force by 2020, she said. These investments are creating good jobs and skills training opportunities, helping families continue to build their lives here in Manitoba.