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Women gaining ground in apprenticeship training in Canada

Ottawa, ON -- Registrations for apprenticeship training programs increased in all major trade groups in 2005, with ...


Ottawa, ON — Registrations for apprenticeship training programs increased in all major trade groups in 2005, with the largest gains occurring in the building construction trades group, thanks to Canada’s construction boom, Statistics Canada reported in November 2007.

In addition, women are gaining ground in apprenticeship training, and in 2005, they accounted for almost one out of every 10 people who registered for training.

In 2005, total registrations hit 293,835, up 9.7% from 2004 and the biggest single-year increase since 1995.

The largest gain occurred in the building construction trades group, where 68,705 people registered for training in 2005, an increase of nearly 8,100 from 2004. Registrations rose by 5,700 in the metal fabricating group, and by just over 4,000 in the electrical, electronics and related trades group.

British Columbia had the greatest increase in registrations over 2004, at 20.5%, with Alberta and the Yukon both at over 12%, and Ontario at 10.0%. Quebec accounted for most of the increase in the building construction trades, with 3,470 new apprentices, followed by British Columbia with 2,230, and Ontario with 1,695. Almost half of the gain in the metal fabricating trades was attributable to Alberta, with 2,500 registrations.

In 2005, municipalities issued a record amount of over $60 billion in permits for residential and non-residential construction. It was the 10th consecutive year of increases in building construction permits, and registered apprenticeship numbers closely followed with increases over a similar number of years.

Completions of apprenticeship training have also been on the rise. They hit a high of 20,555 in 2005, up 4.3% from 2004.

Four trade groups accounted for three-quarters of completions. Those in the metal fabricating trades accounted for 23.0% of the total, the highest proportion. This was followed by the motor vehicle and heavy equipment trades group at 21.7%, the electrical, electronics and related trades group at 18.3%, and the building construction trades group at 14.4%.

The two provinces and territory with the greatest increase in completers in 2005 were Newfoundland and Labrador at 26.9%, British Columbia at 24.8%, and the Yukon at just over 24%. The largest increase in numbers occurred in Quebec (+295) in the building construction trades, and in Alberta (+170) in the electrical, electronics and related trades.

REGISTRATIONS AMONG WOMEN ON THE RISE

Between 1992 and 2005, registrations by women in registered apprenticeship training more than tripled, from 8,225 to 28,755. Since 1998, they have more than doubled.

In 2005, women accounted for 9.8% of total apprentices, double the proportion of 4.5% in 1992.

However, while women’s registrations have increased in every major trade group, their numbers are still low, with one exception. In 2005, 17,530 women registered for training in the food and services trades, where they accounted for 63.8% of total registrations.

Men vastly outnumbered women in other trades. For example, women accounted for only 3.0% of registrations in the building construction trades, the largest proportion after that of the food and services trades group, and 2.4% in both the electrical, electronics and related trades, and the motor vehicle and heavy equipment trades.

Men also vastly outnumbered women when it came to completing programs. Of the 20,555 completions in 2005, women accounted for 10.8%, or only 2,225. However, this was double their proportion of 5.5% in 1992.

Women also accounted for most of the growth in the 9.8% increase in the number of completions between 1992 and 2005.

During this period, the number of men who finished their training program rose by only 640, while the number of women more than doubled from 1,030 to 2,225.

As was the case with registrations, the majority of women completers in 2005 were concentrated in the food and services trades, where they made up three-quarters of this trade group.

In contrast, the proportion of women was considerably lower in all other major trade groups. They accounted for only 1.7% of completers in both the electrical, electronics and related trades, and the metal fabricating trades.

Women in apprenticeship training are younger on average than men

Women who register for apprenticeship training in trades are on average younger than their male counterparts.

In 1992, the average age for women in apprenticeship training was 28. By 2005, this had increased to 29. On the other hand, men in apprenticeship training in 1992 were 29 on average, and by 2005, their average age had increased to 30.

The youngest women in apprenticeship training in 2005 were in two trade groups: the food and services trade group, and the motor vehicle and heavy equipment trade group. The average age of women in both trade groups was 27.

Among men, the youngest were in food and services trades, where the average age was 28.

At the other end of the scale, the oldest women, with an average age of 33, were registered in the building construction trades group. For men, the oldest, with an average age of 31, were in the building construction trades, and industrial and related mechanical trades.

The average age of women and men completers was more divergent.

Among women who finished their training program in 2005, the average age was 28, three years younger than their male counterparts at 31. This gap, while not as great as in 2005, has existed since 1992.

A factor in the lower average age for female completers may be the large number of women in the hairstylist program in the food and services trades group. They were only 26 on average in 2005. In most provinces, this program is only two years long, compared with three to four years long for the majority of other trade programs.

In 2005, the biggest proportion of women in apprenticeship training (30.9%) was in the 20-to-24 age group. Combined with the under-20 age group, they account for 42.5% of all women participants, compared with 34.5% for men. The biggest proportion of men was also in the 20-to-24 age group.

Between 1992 and 2005, the most significant changes in the number of women in apprenticeship training programs by age group occurred among the youngest and oldest. The number in the under-20 age group surged from 475 in 1992 to 3,325 in 2005. The number in the 50-plus age group rose from 100 to 1,050.

The case was similar for men. Their most significant growth occurred in the under-20 age group, where the numbers rose from 3,570 in 1992 to 19,870 in 2005.

Among program completers, 43.9% of women were aged 20 to 24, the highest proportion. In contrast, only 21.1% of male completers were in this age group. The biggest proportion of male completers was in the 25-to-29 age group.