Training program hopes to train 75 people for good jobs

·3 min read

A new local youth program aims to train young people to be more than just a handyman.

“This a unique opportunity for you to become confident in using different tools safely, get exposed to different trade opportunities, and become prepared to start your journey into the trades,” said William Laurie, Trades and Youth Mentor.

Those who enroll in “Not Just A Handyman” begin with a three-week training that pays them to learn foundational skills and get started in the trades. Following the three weeks, youth will have opportunities to participate in networking events, workshops on growing skills, unique employment opportunities, and supports to continuing their education in the trades. The goal is to help 75 people train for good jobs.

“The summer training has been amazing, with so many passionate youths coming through our doors each day. The overwhelming interest is why we have decided to do two more training this fall,” said Laurie.

The project is receiving $215,310 in funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development and is also funded in part by the Government of Canada.

“Across Southwestern Ontario, there are thousands of jobs in the skilled trades waiting to be filled,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister for Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “If you’re a young person who enjoys working with your hands, this program will give you the skills you need to start a meaningful life-long career and earn a bigger paycheque.”

As part of a six-step program, the second step, the Preparation Assessment, takes about one hour to complete.

“These are skills youth will use every day, in every way, and everyone can use a refresher from time to time,” explains the official website,

Youth will also have an Orientation Day, where they will meet with trainers who will support them over the three weeks. They will also receive a toolbelt, tools, and training package filled with relevant information.

“Over three weeks, you will learn a variety of skills and become familiar with different tools that are foundational to the trades,” said Laurie.

The training is a mixture of essential skills and hands-on training, such as pricing products and services or working in a team, as well as build-a-thons where youth get to create different products to practice tool-related safety, skills, and techniques.

Training takes place Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We have partnered with local businesses, St. Clair College, and community partners to create micro-workshops and events for you to grow and hone your skills,” said Laurie.

He added there are monthly skills workshops on tools, skills, and techniques not covered in training, as well as networking events with mentors, community partners, and local businesses.

Laurie also highlighted there are unique employment opportunities offered to train grads, including help to start their own business.

“Simply put, the possibilities are endless. You choose what to take advantage of,” he said.

Applications are now open for the Fall 2022 Cohorts. Cohort 3: Sept. 12 to Sept. 29, and Cohort 4 runs Oct. 17 to Nov. 3.

In order to be eligible, participants must be between 15-29 years of age and live in Chatham-Kent. All applications will be reviewed, and successful applicants will be notified of acceptance by Sept. 2.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News