Apprenticeship youth advisors
Learn about how youth advisors are helping Ontario promote skilled trades careers among young people.
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Read the action plan in response to the apprenticeship youth advisors’ final report.
In August 2020, Ontario appointed three youth advisors, for a nine-month term, to work with Monte McNaughton, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, to attract more youth, including under-represented groups, to skilled trades careers.
The appointed youth advisors were Jennifer Green, Adam Melnick and Andrew Pariser.
Key priorities of the youth advisors include:
- Breaking the stigma associated with pursuing a career in the skilled trades through earlier intervention and improved awareness in earlier years.
- Identifying the barriers preventing youth from groups that are traditionally under-represented in the skilled trades and exploring strategies to encourage their participation in apprenticeship training.
- Improving access into apprenticeship by establishing clear, streamlined pathways to apprenticeship and identifying opportunities to develop new, and enhance existing, pathways programs for elementary and secondary students (such as the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Dual Credits).
- Supporting the retention of apprentices and successful completion of an apprenticeship program, including improved transitions to careers in the skilled trades that meet the labour force needs of employers, including small to medium-sized businesses impacted by COVID‑19.
From October 2020 to March 2021, the advisors led engagements with a diverse range of key stakeholders and partners to gather a wide range of insights. Key stakeholders include:
- youth, under 30 years of age
- employers with unionized and non-unionized employees in all trade sectors with apprenticeship programs, including the construction, industrial, motive power and service sectors
- educators from elementary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and Indigenous institutes
- training delivery agents, including college and non-college
- current apprentices and journeypersons
Report and recommendations
The Youth Advisors submitted their report in April 2021 with recommendations to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
Read the youth advisors’ report.
Ontario is moving forward with new and enhanced programs and services under our Skilled Trades Strategy that respond to the Youth Advisors’ recommendations. Our action plan seeks to:
- break the stigma associated with working in the trades
- simplify the system for apprentices, sponsors and employers
- encourage greater employer participation in apprenticeship training
Read the action plan.
Jennifer Green is the Director of Competitions and Young Women’s Initiatives at Skills Ontario, an organization focusing on encouraging youth to explore and pursue careers in the skilled trades and technologies. Jennifer has promoted the advancement of the skilled trades across the province since 2005 in various roles through mentorship, speaking engagements, and programming.
Jennifer holds a Certificate of Qualification, a Certificate of Apprenticeship, and an Ontario College Certificate for Industrial Mechanic Millwright. While employed at Linamar, she worked towards promotion and retention strategies for women in the trades and held a part-time engagement at the Upper Grand District School Board as a Co-operative Education/Ontario Youth Apprenticeship (OYAP) Advisor. Following this, Jennifer worked in operations at the school board in accelerating preventative maintenance programming and maintenance digital processes. She previously held the roles of Skills Ontario Alumni Association President, as well as chair and Ontario lead on the Skills Canada National Alumni Committee.
Labelled as a trailblazer for women in non-traditional careers, Jennifer has achieved various honours and awards, and continues to advocate for careers in the skilled trades and technologies.
Adam Melnick is the Director of Government and Community Relations for the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 95 Ontario. Previously, he held the roles of elected business agent, director of apprenticeship and training, and instructor for this local for nearly a decade. He holds an Ontario certificate of qualification as a Heat and Frost Insulator and a diploma in recreation and leisure services from Sir Sandford Fleming College.
As a journeyperson and advocate for the skilled trades, Adam also spends time promoting and engaging educators, students, and community partners around the opportunities that are available in the skilled trades. He also hosts and produces the Accidental Apprentices Podcast – Odd Jobs Explored.
Adam is a resident of the Region of Durham, where he serves on the board of directors for the Durham Workforce Authority and on the Program Advisory Committee for Durham College’s construction management degree program. He also serves on the boards of directors for the Toronto Community Benefits Network and Buildforce Canada.
Andrew Pariser is the Vice-President of Residential Construction Council of Ontario since 2014, specializing in training and apprenticeship, health and safety, and labour relations. Andrew is the chair of both the health and safety committee and training and apprenticeship committee and sits on three program advisory committees at Durham, Humber, and George Brown colleges.
Previously, he was appointed to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development Planning and Partnership Table as well the Highly Skilled Workforce Committee which focused on the future of work in Ontario.
Andrew’s passion for all issues related to apprenticeship and skilled trades began during his eight years with the Ontario Ministry of Labour in the mediator services division, where he interacted with all sectors of Ontario economy including industrial, services, automotive, and construction. This passion continued with his appointment to the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plan’s Apprentice, Training and Education Board (2017-2018) and Canadian Board (2018-2021).
Andrew graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in economics and geography in 2006, and again in 2007, with a Master’s degree in industrial relations.