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Canada / Failure to graduate enough tradespeople has been a constant for decades

Canada’s failure to graduate enough tradespeople has been a constant for decades. While Canada had nearly 400,000 registered apprentices in 2010, less than 50 per cent went on to obtain their certifications. Most dropouts leave because current policies make it impossible for them to stay…

The average starting age of an apprentice is 27. Surveys show that this older average age is often due to the fact that for many tradespeople, these professions are their second or third attempt at a career. Vast numbers of registered apprentices have prior post-secondary experience of some kind, and have turned to the trades later in life, having been poorly advised on their initial career choices.

Without creating the enabling conditions for employers to engage in the on-the-job training, there is evidence of employers who “poach” journeypersons or turn to importing talent from abroad. Polytechnics Canada has argued that tax credits could be used to induce employers to invest in this kind of skills training, particularly to encourage certification completion.

 

Furthermore, in North America, unfortunately, apprentices are treated as employees, rather than learners. Most glaringly, apprentices are not eligible for the same government financial support programs offered university and college undergraduates. When apprentices return for in-class training periods, they receive employment insurance but given their age and the fact that many have families, EI is not sufficient financial support…

Interestingly, none of these challenges are unique to Canada: other developed and mature economies have faced these shortfalls as well. But the solutions have yet to be translated here. Australia reviewed its entire apprenticeship model very recently and created a National Skills Need List based on detailed and accurate labour market research by the government and a program that provides business skills training and mentoring support for recently graduated apprentices.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor

globe and mail

via Business must share blame for shortage of skilled workers – The Globe and Mail.

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