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Canada increases commitment to skilled trades careers

Hamilton, ON - Jan. 22, 2003 -- The Government of Canada has announced funding of $12 million for the Canadian App...


Hamilton, ON – Jan. 22, 2003 — The Government of Canada has announced funding of $12 million for the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) and Skills/Comptences Canada (S/CC) to develop and promote career options in the skilled trades.

“The Government of Canada is committed to working with partners in the apprenticeship community to advance the goal, outlined in Knowledge Matters, to double the number of Canadians completing apprenticeship programs within a 10-year period,” said the Honourable Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC).

“As a nation, we must strive to build a society where all Canadians’ talents and ability to learn are continually nurtured and developed throughout their lives.”

This project is a partnership between HRDC, CAF and S/CC. It is one of the major initiatives put in place to support the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Learning Strategy for Canadians, which addresses the national challenge of ensuring Canadians possess the skills and knowledge required to fully participate in the knowledge-based economy. CAF and S/CC are two not-for-profit organizations that bring together key stakeholders in the apprenticeship community to promote the development of apprenticeship across Canada.

“We need more young Canadians to choose skilled trades and technologies career paths. Canada’s future depends on it,” said Steve Goodwin, executive director of S/CC. “There are terrific opportunities out there, but we need to make sure that our young people know about them.”

“We also need to dismantle common misconceptions and prejudices that can prevent young Canadians from considering careers in skilled trades and technologies,” he added. “Once we’ve provided our youth with the opportunities, and the tools to capitalize on those opportunities, there is no limit to what we can achieve individually and as a nation. This announcement signals a watershed opportunity to reach out to Canada’s youth and their key influencers, and demonstrates the strong commitment the federal government and industry are making to ensure a prosperous future for all Canadians.”

To attract more young people with mathematical, scientific and technical aptitudes into the skilled trades, the campaign will strive to change the perception of skilled trades and technologies careers in the minds of Canadian youth, their parents and other key influencers. The improved image and increased profile of skilled trades are expected to help address the issue of skills shortages, by encouraging more young people to consider careers in this segment of the labour market.

The campaign will also encourage employers to accept and retrain more apprentices, so that they are better able to complete their studies.

The total number of registered apprentices in Canada has remained relatively flat for the past decade. In 1998, the total number was 177,741, compared to 192,946 in 1991.

Similarly, apprenticeship completion rates have also remained relatively stagnant. In 2000, the number of apprentices who completed their training was 18,249, compared to 19,724 in 1991.

The Canadian government wants to double the number of apprentices completing certification over the next decade to 37,000.

“Deciding to enter a skilled trade can lead young people into rewarding and satisfying careers that will serve them well throughout their lives. The income and lifestyle prospects are very good-and there is always the possibility of self-employment or other entrepreneurial opportunities. We need to make young people, and their parents, more aware of the benefits of choosing a career in the trades,” said Keith Lancastle, executive director of CAF.

“This project will move us towards the day when an apprenticeship program-leading to certification as a tradesperson-is a first career choice in the minds of young people, as well as those who influence these decisions.”

Funding for this project was provided in the December 2001 federal Budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.