Ontario training young people for careers in creative industries

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TORONTO, Canada — The Ontario government is investing almost $1 million to expand on-the-job training for 350 young people in creative industries like film, music, gaming and animation. The initiative is focused on youth over 16 with disabilities, who are newcomers to Ontario, Indigenous or Black. This initiative is part of the government’s effort to ensure that youth, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, can connect to promising careers and contribute to the strength of our economy.

“Doing what you love doesn’t have to mean giving up a good paycheque,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. “The creative industries offer many exciting and well-paying opportunities for young people looking to start an in-demand career. This project will support bright young minds who face multiple barriers and need a leg up, so they can pursue their passion in entertainment and other creative fields.”

The project, led by the Stratagem Group, Magnet, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, is being delivered by the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and Ontario colleges to students through a mix of online and in-person learning, with part of the learning happening in the classroom and part of it on the job. During the eight-to-12-week program, participants will learn from top tier industry talent in fields such as film, music, gaming and animation and will work together each week to research and collaborate on projects in their chosen field.

At the completion of their training, the participants will be better prepared for careers in creative industries, depending on their choice of field, including jobs in animation, construction/set design and decorating, documentary filmmaker/producer, grip, location scouting, post-production/editing production, props managing, and sound production. Some of these careers have an average salary of $70,000+ a year, and in the first quarter of 2021, there were 400 unfilled jobs in the performing arts, spectator sports and related industries (Statistics Canada’s Job Vacancy and Wage Survey).

Participants are referred to the program through TCHC, or their secondary or postsecondary schools. Those placed through TCHC will be paid for both in-class and on-the-job training, and high school and post-secondary students will receive credits towards graduation. Participants will also receive a micro-credential badge for their work.

This funding is part of the government’s $115-million Skills Development Fund to address challenges to hiring, training and retraining workers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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