Ontario training new generation of shipbuilders in Hamilton


The Ontario government has committed more than $3.7 million to help 300 shipyard workers, apprentices and jobseekers in Hamilton and Port Weller. Funding will modernize Ontario’s shipyards to attract new shipbuilding contracts and thousands of well-paying jobs to the province.

“From the auto-sector to shipbuilding, we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to Ontario,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This new investment will help to ensure that Ontario workers have the skills needed to fill critical labour shortages so we can rebuild our manufacturing industries and build the infrastructure our growing province needs.”

Led by Heddle Shipyards, new and existing workers will have the chance to participate in 12 months of hands-on and in-class learning focused on improving and refreshing technical skills in ship repair and shipbuilding, shipyard health and safety knowledge, and professional development and leadership training. Courses will also help workers to begin in-demand careers in the skilled trades as welders, millwrights, and electricians, helping tackle the critical shortage of workers in the sector.

“Ontario will need over 100,000 more workers in the skilled trades this decade to build the infrastructure families and businesses rely on,” said Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “Careers like those in shipbuilding are meaningful, well-paying and can offer the path to a better life.”

Workers will also be trained and up-skilled in repairing wooden vessels – a highly specialized and well-paying sector of the ship repair industry. The project aims to increase job opportunities for women, youth, and other under-represented groups in the industry and will include mental health support.

“The Ontario Shipyard Modernization Project has been instrumental in expanding the skills of our people and creating good jobs across all three of our shipyards in Ontario,” said Shaun Padulo, president and chief executive officer of Heddle Shipyards. “We will continue to support jobseekers who face higher barriers to entry and enhance pathways to meaningful and well-paying employment, including having brought 10 Ukrainians and their families to start new lives in Ontario.”

The project is funded through the government’s $700 million skills development fund.

Founded in 1987, Heddle Shipyards is the largest Canadian ship repair and construction company on the Great Lakes.

Across Ontario, there are roughly 300,000 jobs estimated to be currently vacant.

“The marine sector faces looming labour shortages due to aging demographics and will need to hire thousands of people for well-paying, rewarding careers in shipyards, in ports, in offices and onboard vessels over the next decade,” said Julia Fields, executive director, Canadian Marine Careers Foundation. “The Ontario government’s investment today is an important step towards helping ensure the right training is in place to build an inclusive and future-ready workforce for ship repair/building in the province.”


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