Hiring youth workers for manufacturing positions can be costly. With significant training and onboarding expenses that exceed the investment required with experienced labourers, the costs of recruiting youth workers can often outweigh its benefits. Still, employing apprentices and interns is an excellent strategy to overcome talent gaps. Manufacturers need to know how to incorporate a youth-driven workforce development strategy that is also financially feasible.
That’s where hiring grants and other government incentives become so valuable. Developing a talent acquisition strategy that involves grants for hiring student interns and apprentices offers a significant competitive advantage and helps a greater number of youth transition into the manufacturing workforce. If your company does not use these programs or lacks a plan to optimize their use, this article will help you better understand the funding landscape.
Manufacturers can receive up to $5,000 to $7,000 in grants per 16- to 18-week internship period or $16,700 to $19,200 per apprentice that completes four levels of training and receives a Certificate of Apprenticeship.
Each approach to hiring young workers provides benefits, but the best option for your company depends on several factors, including the industry you operate in, what type of position you’re hiring for, and how many candidates you’re looking to recruit. Since there is a lot to consider in the process, you should take an approach that identifies the ideal candidate first, then use the right funding program(s) to offset costs.
Manufacturing Internship Grants for Employers
Hiring interns is an effective way to reach youth that are interested in manufacturing careers. Companies can use interns over one or several internship units, enabling the intern to build skills and a feel for your company that supports transition to full-time, permanent employment. While employers are not required to provide paid internships, doing so can greatly improve your employer branding and encourage more interns to seek employment at your company post-graduation.
By accessing internship grants, Canadian employers can provide paid student internships while receiving grants of up to $5,000, or $7,000 if the student is part of an under-represented group (including women in manufacturing).
The most important factor to consider when accessing government funding for paid manufacturing internships is that Canadian government grants will only cover the incremental increase in interns over the previous year. So, if your business hired two interns over the past 12 months and plans to hire three interns this year, internship funding will only offset the employment costs of one intern.
Apprenticeship Funding for Employers in Canada
Another funding option for manufacturers that operate in an eligible trade is to hire and train apprentices. Apprentices have finished their formal schooling and have typically received a diploma proving their competence in one or more areas of manufacturing skills.
The process of becoming a tradesperson requires the apprenticeship process to further training and skills development. In Ontario (and elsewhere in Canada) there are typically five steps employers must take to help their apprentice become certified:
- Hire the Apprentice: Recruit and offer employment to the apprentice.
- Register the Apprentice: Complete registration forms with the apprentice and apply for funding (see more information below).
- Assign a Mentor: Identify a mentor who can share their knowledge, skills, and business intelligence and help familiarize them with the apprenticeship training process. Training plans are created at this stage to keep the mentor and apprentice on track.
- Provide and Document Training: Offer training in accordance to the apprentice’s training plan, document progress, and ensure the apprentice has achieved all necessary competencies.
- Support Certification: Help the apprentice finish training to receive their Certificate of Apprenticeship and help them prepare to write their final exam to receive a Certificate of Qualification.
To support this apprenticeship process, employers and apprentices can apply for funding aimed towards offsetting a large portion of apprenticeship costs. For Ontario employers, the most common form of support is the Graduated Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (GAGE). In this program, employers are automatically enrolled when they formally register an apprentice and receive incremental funding contributions when the apprentice completes four training milestones. A final payment is released when the apprentice completes training and receives their Certificate of Apprenticeship.
Through GAGE funding, employers may receive up to $16,700 to support an apprentice’s training, or up to $19,200 if the apprentice is a member of an under-represented group such as a visible minority, or women in STEM.
Not located in Ontario or seeking apprentices in other provinces? There are other funding options available, including the federal Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit (AJCTC), Apprenticeship Completion Grant, and Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. All three of these programs are provided federally, although they offer less funding than Ontario’s GAGE program.
Build a Workforce Development Funding Plan
Hiring interns and apprentices is a great way for skilled trade employers to develop a team of highly-qualified, engaged young workers. It helps overcome skills gaps and ensure you have the talent needed to grow sustainably; but funding has a big role to play in the process. Without accessing the grants and incentives available, you’re missing an incredible opportunity to offset hiring and training costs.
To learn more about hiring grants and wage subsidies available to your business, please use Mentor Works’ Wage Subsidy Identifier™ contact form to tell us more about the types of hires you’re planning to take on. We can then recommend a plan to optimize your use of government funding programs.