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A Halton success story: website connects employers, apprentices

Halton Industry Education Council's free, online skilled trades platform now offered across Canada

Today, Friday, November 17, Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC) celebrates 34 years of bringing career development, training, mentorship and job networking to young people in the Halton region - and it keeps growing. Recently, HIEC’s signature skilled trades platform went from being offered regionally to now offered across Canada.

Despite national growth, HIEC remains rooted in Halton and has a long history of board members, partners, champions, sponsors and stakeholders who have helped the organization chart its course.

“I’ve been with HIEC for 32 years,” said Kelly Hoey, Executive Director. “I have seen how HIEC links and connects businesses with young people - all with the goal of inspiring informed career decisions. As helping youth feel optimistic about their future is more important than ever post-pandemic.”

HIEC’s offers a free online skilled trades employment platform, along with job coaching and resources, to match employers and job seekers with each other based on location and field of work. was launched 24 years ago and, now, the online service receives 2 million site visits a year, with hundreds of new applicants added each week, and will continue growing.

“Canada urgently needs skilled trades professionals to address key priorities around housing, affordability and the green economy,” said Hoey. “Luckily, we have over 20,000 job seekers across Canada who have registered on and put their hand up to identify their interest in pursuing skilled trades careers.” 

To keep up with growth, HIEC is in the process of expanding office space in Burlington, where it hosts thousands of learners annually virtually and in-person for its Career Awareness Program, to support more career development opportunities, along with a Career Cafe providing on-site job coaching support for participants of the Gateway to the Trades program.

Another legacy program will reach a key milestone this year. Celebrating its 20th anniversary on April 4, 2024, Women as Career Coaches (WACC) has empowered more than 10,000 women in the community to date through an evening of inspiring, intergenerational mentorship.

HIEC also now offers job readiness programs such as Gateway to the Trades, along with its mentorship programs and community networking events. 

Growing beyond Halton, HIEC now has relationships with industry, education and community stakeholders across Ontario and Canada, bringing its local model of excellence to all Canadians.

Importance of Growth

It has never been more important that the skilled trades be seen as an accessible and rewarding career pathway. The Government of Canada reports that between now and 2028, about 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire, noting that meeting these demands will require the recruitment and training of thousands of additional skilled workers.

HIEC is an innovative not-for-profit focusing on partnership, mentorship and workforce development. For 34 years now, HIEC has been working to build stronger connections between educators, employers and the students who will make up our future workforce.

HIEC’s goal of collaboration and working together continues 34 years later, now offering its services beyond Halton to all of Canada in this important time for skilled trades.


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