Ottawa pledges $2.4M for trades apprenticeship program in the N.W.T.'s Tlicho region
YELLOWKNIFE — The federal government is committing more than $2.4 million to create 30 new apprenticeships in the Northwest Territories' Tlicho region.
The Tlicho Trades Apprenticeship Program is meant to support small- and medium-sized businesses in the region to hire, train and retain first-year apprentices in eligible trades over the next two years.
That includes carpenters, drywall finishers, heavy equipment operators, sheet metal workers and welders.
Tlicho Grand Chief Jackson Lafferty says these trades are needed in the area, particularly in the most isolated communities.
The federal government says the program is to help kick-start careers in the skilled trades and address employment barriers.
Northwest Territories member of Parliament Michael McLeod adds it will also help address labour shortages in the sector.
"This is the creation of opportunity to empower people to learn in-demand skills so that they can get good jobs and go to work with confidence," he said.
A 2021 report by BuildForce Canada says the construction industry needs more than 309,000 new workers over the next decade to replace retirees and keep up with demand.
McLeod said the Liberal government has spent $393 million through the Apprenticeship Service to help create more than 42,000 apprenticeships across Canada.
The Tlicho Government's 2022 to 2027 economic development and training strategy says 26 per cent of the region's population is unemployed and that could grow to 31 per cent by 2029 due to the expected closure of diamond mines in the territory. It identifies skilled trades, natural resources and renewable energy and several services as priority training areas.
"We encourage our people, our Tlicho citizens to explore these opportunities," Lafferty said of the Tlicho Trades Apprenticeship Program.
"The benefits of consistent employment and reliable income will help lift our people up and also provide economic stability for individuals."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2023.
Emily Blake, The Canadian Press