Support is Key to Bolstering Apprenticeship Registration
/ Author: CLAC Staff
/ Categories: Local 63, Newsletters /
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Support is Key to Bolstering Apprenticeship Registration

 Statistics Canada has released the most recent numbers for apprenticeship, revealing registration has declined in every province and territory.

 CLAC and other construction industry stakeholders are concerned, reiterating the message that significant changes need to be made to fill the looming skills gap.

 “This is the first time we’ve seen registrations down in every province across the whole country, which is maybe more troubling because it doesn’t really reflect the kind of demand we’re hearing from industry around the need for skilled tradespeople,” Sarah Watts-Rynard, executive director of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, said in an interview with the Daily Commercial News.

 In 2016, there were 417,300 people registered for apprenticeship programs in Canada, down from 455,900 in 2015, Statistics Canada reports. Watts-Rynard said she is mostly concerned about registered apprentices who may be partway through the program and need jobs to achieve certification.

 “When registrations are down across the board, it tells us that the opportunities for people who are in an apprenticeship already are potentially finding that it’s hard to find jobs—which could mean apprentices aren’t progressing,” she said. "That gives us a sense that we’re going to see numbers actually drop out completely and go to other fields at a time when we are hearing pretty much from every sector of the economy that they’re having real difficulty filling skilled trades positions. My biggest concern is that I know the economy is cyclical. That demand will come back and I think the industry is going to be looking around saying ‘Where are the apprentices,’ and they will not be there.”

 For CLAC, the need for people in the skilled trades in general—and for apprentices in particular—is clear, and supporting apprentices is a top priority.

 To help apprentices complete their inschool training, CLAC reimburses member apprentices up to $850 per school year for tuition, exam fees, and books for eligible members. Students who earn a final trade school mark of 90 percent or higher can receive an added $100 bonus.

 CLAC’s training team is always there to provide whatever assistance it can. CLAC Training in Alberta continues to pursue opportunities to expose under-represented people (young people, Indigenous people, and women) to the trades, as well as give people an opportunity to look at the trade options that are available. The introduction to the trade programs, our Aboriginal Initiatives Program, and our pre-employment program through our Career Development College are there to help people get into the trades and be successful.

 “We want apprentices to know they can come to us for support in helping them navigate the apprenticeship pathways,” says Kari-Anne March, college and partnership coordinator for CLAC in Alberta.

 “Through various initiatives, CLAC works alongside multiple partners to support apprentices throughout their entire careers. We provide educational support, job readiness training, and a connection with our network of employers so that our apprentices are successful, workready tradespeople who are aligned with meaningful employment opportunities.” 

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