MRO Magazine

Apprenticeship training likely leads to a permanent job

Ottawa, ON -- Nationally, 88% of apprentices who completed their program were employed, compared with 82% of those ...

Human Resources

September 22, 2008
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — Nationally, 88% of apprentices who completed their program were employed, compared with 82% of those who did not finish, according to the 2007 National Apprenticeship Survey from Statistics Canada. Those who completed were also more likely to have full-time jobs and receive substantially higher wages.

At a provincial and territorial level, apprentices who completed their programs were also more likely to be employed than those who did not finish. This difference was more pronounced in Ontario, where 91% of completers were employed compared with 82% of discontinuers. In contrast, the difference was least pronounced in Quebec, where 72% of completers and 70% of discontinuers were employed.

Across Canada, among those who were employed, people who finished their training were more likely to have permanent jobs (80% of completers compared with 76% of discontinuers). This was true in all provinces and territories except Alberta, where an equal proportion (77%) of completers and discontinuers who worked held permanent employment.

Those who completed their programs earned more per hour than those who discontinued their programs. Nationally, the median hourly wage of completers was $27 compared with $20 for discontinuers. Across provinces and territories, the difference in the median hourly wage between completers and discontinuers was highest in the Atlantic provinces and in Alberta, while it was lowest in the territories and in Saskatchewan.



More than one-third (36%) of long-term continuers as of 2004 had completed their apprenticeship program by 2007, while 56% were still pursuing their program. Only 8% had discontinued their apprenticeship training.

However, almost two-thirds (64%) of those who had discontinued an apprenticeship program as of 2004 had returned to their apprenticeship program by 2007 and had either completed their apprenticeship program (26%), or were still enrolled in one (38%). Just over one-third of discontinuers as of 2004 were still discontinuers three years later.

Women were more likely to come back and complete their program than men. About 38% of women who had dropped out in 2004 had finished their program by 2007, compared with only 24% of their male counterparts.


There was not one major factor but rather a multitude of factors that explained why discontinuers left their apprenticeship program. The reason most often cited by discontinuers (16%) for not completing their program was that there was not enough work in the trade to warrant continuing or insufficient income as an apprentice to meet their requirements.

About 10% of discontinuers stopped their program because they had received a better job offer. An additional 8% of discontinuers stopped because they disliked the work or the working conditions.

A further 8% of apprentices discontinued their program because they wanted to change jobs or careers, became self-employed or lost interest. An additional 4% discontinued their studies as a result of employer, company, or union issues, including problems such as the employer discontinuing the apprenticeship program or not following the rules.

As well, three in 10 discontinuers (30%) reported a diverse range of other reasons for not completing their apprenticeship program.

The profiles of women and men classified as long-term continuers in 2004 were very similar. For both genders, 36% had completed their program by 2007, while slightly over half (55% of women and 56% of men) were still in their apprenticeship programs. Roughly the same proportion of men (7%) and women (8%) had discontinued their program by 2007.

By 2007, 34% of Aboriginal peoples and 37% of non-Aboriginals had completed their apprenticeships, while 56% in both groups were still registered in their programs. About 9% of Aboriginal peoples had left their program, close to the rate of 7% for non-Aboriginals.

The comparison was similar for landed immigrants and all other apprentices. For both groups, 36% had completed their programs by 2007, and over half (58% of landed immigrants and 56% of all others) were still registered in their programs. About 6% of landed immigrants had discontinued their program, compared with 8% of all others.

Among those who discontinued their program, women were more likely to cite family issues as their main reason for discontinuing, while men were more likely to cite not enough work or insufficient incomes. Aboriginal apprentices were more likely to cite family issues and not enough available work as the main reasons for discontinuing.


The National Apprenticeship Survey 2007 provides a comprehensive look at the factors affecting the completion, certification and transition of apprentices to the labour market.

The survey focused on three groups, including completers (those who completed their program) and discontinuers (those who dropped out of their program). It also focused on a new group of apprentices, “long-term continuers,” namely those who had remained in their programs for one and a half times the expected length, to try to understand why some apprentices take longer to complete their apprenticeship programs.

The survey was a collaborative effort by Human Resources and Social Development Canada, apprenticeship authorities in each of the provinces and territories, and Statistics Canada. The work was carried out under the guidance of the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship.