Apprenticeship drop worrisome
June 30 2018
Despite an apparent shortage of skilled construction workers across the country, fewer young people are pursuing apprenticeship training in the trades.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 417,300 individuals registered for apprenticeship programs in Canada in 2016, down from 455,900 in 2015. Of this total, new registrations accounted for approximately 72,000 registrants in 2016, while 337,450 were already registered in an apprenticeship program prior to 2016.
The 2016 data is the latest available from Statistics Canada.
Among the three categories of registration, individuals newly registered to a program had the biggest drop over the previous two years, falling from 93,400 in 2014 to 72,000 in 2016. Alberta had the largest decline, down 11,000 from 2014 to 2016, the report indicates.
This is in despite of repeated concerns that Canada is facing a dire shortage of skilled trades in the construction industry.
Earlier this year, Build Force Canada forecast that construction workforce demand will rise by approximately 22,000 workers by the end of the decade.
“Despite slower employment growth in most provinces, recruitment pressures will intensify with the estimated retirement of up to 21 per cent of Canada’s construction workforce this decade,” said Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “Simply put, the industry must remain focused on recruitment, training, and mentoring efforts to prevent a potential skills and capacity gap over the next 10 years.”
Yet, Statistics Canada reports that the apprenticeship registrations declined in every province and territory in 2016 compared to a year earlier.