TORONTO – The Ontario government is investing almost $1 million to prepare over 600 people across the province for rewarding careers in food and beverage processing. This funding to Food and Beverage Ontario provides jobseekers with training, mentorship, and job placements with local employers in baking, food science, and food production and processing.
“Ontario’s food and beverage workers have kept shelves stocked and our province running throughout the pandemic,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “I’m proud to support this exciting project, which is giving people a head start in pursuing rewarding careers while ensuring employers have access to the trained, highly-skilled workers they need to grow our economy and strengthen communities across the province.”
Workers in food processing, transportation and warehousing, where job postings have nearly doubled over the past year and a fifth of the workforce is preparing to retire, can earn upwards of $25 an hour. Food and Beverage Ontario’s (FBO) CareersNOW! program will help address this labour shortage by delivering:
- Free online training and coaching on topics such as workplace safety, employee-employer relations, and safe food handling, to prepare people for jobs in food and beverage manufacturing.
- A regional pilot program with the City of Brampton to assess challenges and opportunities in connecting local jobseekers with employers, focusing on underrepresented groups in the industry, including women and people of colour.
- A virtual career mentorship series delivered in partnership with Ontario colleges and universities that provides students with opportunities to connect with professionals in the industry and explore education and career pathways.
- Online job fairs to connect jobseekers with open positions.
“With this important investment, Food and Beverage Ontario has kickstarted a critical workforce development program for Ontario’s food and beverage processors, and the participation by employers and jobseekers has been extraordinary,” said Chris Conway, CEO of the Food and Beverage Ontario. “Our thanks to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development for supporting the launch of CareersNOW! so that we have the systems in place to engage jobseekers and students, and facilitate connections with employers offering great jobs. This program is our top priority.”
“We know that Ontario’s food and beverage processors have great jobs to offer and we appreciate the role these processors play, every day, as an important link in Ontario’s food supply chain,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Training our future workforce with the much-needed skills required and matching them with employers in need, will support the growth of our province’s agri-food sector and maintain our confidence in our local food supply which all-told, strengthens our province’s economy as well.”
This initiative is part of Ontario’s over $200-million Skills Development Fund investment, designed to support fresh ideas for training and skills development that will help our economy recover and prosper.
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