London is playing host to the Ontario’s largest hands-on job fair for students interested in skilled trades.
The Future Building 2016 expo runs from Tuesday to Thursday at the Western Fair District Metroland Media Agriplex from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
About 5,000 students and teachers representing 19 school boards from across the province will be attending.
There will be an evening session on Wednesday that runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for young adults and professionals considering a career change.
CEO of the Ontario Construction Secretariat Sean Strickland tells AM980 about the exhibition.
“Unlike other trade shows, this is a trade show where you’ll also be able to actually experience what it’s like to lay some bricks, to weld some pipes, to hammer some nails and also operate a crane simulator machine, so it’s a real hands on experience and good exposure for the construction industry.”
Those in attendance will be given an opportunity to speak one-on-one with professionals from a variety of associations and high-tech construction trades, to learn about the industry’s changing academic and technical demands, and to gain exposure to future career and apprenticeship training opportunities.
“We need people who are able to work, job ready, good math skills, good literacy skills. Those are real building blocks for a career in the construction industry,” Strickland says.
According to the 2016 Construction Confidence Indicator, an annual province-wide survey of construction firms developed by Ipsos Reid and the OCS, London is reporting more confidence in regional construction growth throughout 2016 than any other city in Ontario.
But firms in the region also predict they will face the largest labour shortages, with 80% of local contractors expecting to be “somewhat or extremely affected” by a skilled labour shortage.
“We still have a long way to go to not only educate secondary guidance councillors, but also parents about the opportunities in the construction industry,” Strickland admits. “It’s taken some time for us to swing that pendulum back, but I think that society in general and parents and family and guidance councillors are beginning to realize there’s lots of good opportunities in construction.”
The career fair, which moves to a new city each year and is open to the public, is organized by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) with support from Ontario’s Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities (Employment Ontario).
Photo Credit: Janis Reese/Kaleidoscope Photography