Skilled labour shortages are expected in Canada. Apprenticeship is seen by many as one of the best ways to provide for a supply of skills matching industry needs. The German model is praised around the world, exported and copied elsewhere. What about the system in Canada?
Statistics Canada has published a study by Christine Laporte and Richard E. Mueller answering the question. The title: The Completion Behaviour of Registered Apprentices: Who Continues, Who Quits, and Who Completes Programs? And the answer call for solutions as overall completion rate was 4.9% in 2007.
“There is little understanding of why such a large proportion of registered apprentices fail to complete their programs and become journeypersons in their chosen trade.” writes the authors. “Although the number of registered apprentices in Canada is at an all time high, completion rates remain low, compared to those for other types of post-secondary education. While the determinants of university and college access and the determinants of persistence to graduation have been the topic of numerous recent studies, a similar analysis for apprentices in the skilled trades is lacking. “
“A number of demographic and occupational variables are related to the completion probability of registered apprentices. Being married, and having fewer children is positively related to completion, as is having completed a high school education or higher level of education prior to entering apprenticeship training. There are no differences in completion behaviour between the sexes once other controls are included in the model.
“The probability of completion peaks at four years, the usual length of most apprenticeship programs. It is also found in this study that the regional unemployment rate is very weakly (but positively) related to completion and that there are differences in completion rates between provinces. Factors such as trade group, type of technical training, and having a journeyperson present are important correlates of program completion.
“The results imply that the design of apprenticeship programs is important. Those differences between trades and provinces are found suggests that future research should further exploit the provincial and trade group differences in programs in order to arrive at a better understanding of the program characteristics that may enhance completion.”
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