Ottawa, ON — Growing numbers of Canadians, particularly middle-aged and older Canadians, participated in job-related education or training in 2008 compared with five years earlier, reports Statistics Canada in its latest Access and Support to Education and Training Survey.
Family responsibilities, needing to work and conflicts with work schedules were cited as the most common reasons for not pursuing further education or training. In addition, more Canadian families are saving for postsecondary education.
In 2008, 36% of adults aged 25 to 64 participated in job-related education or training activities, up from 30% in 2002. At the same time, 32% of adults reported that they wanted to further participate, but did not, an increase from 26% in 2002.
The reasons reported for not taking further education or training have changed over time. In 2002, financial barriers were more often cited as obstacles to participating in education or training. In 2008, adults were more likely to cite non-financial barriers, such as conflicts with their work schedules or family responsibilities.
Canadians who participated in a formal education program typically spent about $2,500 during the year. Participants were nearly twice as likely to use non-repayable sources of financing to pay for their education programs, such as bursaries or support from family, compared with repayable sources, such as loans.
Data from the survey’s youth component shows that parents are saving for their children’s future education. Two-thirds of children up to the age of 17 had savings for their postsecondary education. Of those with savings, 69% had a Registered Education Savings Plan.
Participation in job-related education or training more prevalent among middle-aged Canadians
Between 2002 and 2008, the largest increase in participation occurred among middle-aged people, followed by older Canadians. The increase was less pronounced for younger Canadians. Consequently, for the first time, adults aged 35 to 44 had participation rates similar to younger adults aged 25 to 34. Participation in job-related education or training was highest among the 25 to 34 age group (43%), followed closely by the 35 to 44 age group (42%). The rate fell to 29% for adults aged 45 to 64.
Job-related education or training is becoming more prevalent among middle-aged Canadians
Participation in job-related education or training increased in all provinces. The fastest growth occurred in Prince Edward Island, where the participation rate rose from 27% in 2002 to 41% in 2008.
Family responsibilities most common reason for not participating
Family responsibilities, needing to work and conflicts with work schedules were the most common reasons for not pursuing further education or training. These reasons differed between age groups.
Young people aged 18 to 24 cited training costs as the most important reason, while adults 25 to 64 cited family responsibilities.
Reasons for not pursuing further education or training have changed over time. Among Canadians who reported an unmet need or demand, the proportion of adults who reported costs as a barrier fell from 43% in 2002 to 36% in 2008.
In contrast, the proportion of adults who cited conflicts with their work schedule rose from 27% to 39%. The propor
tion of adults who cited family responsibilities increased from 27% to 34%.
Increase in proportion of children with savings for postsecondary education
In 2008, 68% of children up to the age of 17, whose parents expected them to go beyond high school, had savings for their postsecondary education. This was an increase from 43% in 1999 and 52% in 2002.
Over time, the proportion of children with Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) has also increased. Of children who had savings put aside for their education, 69% had savings in RESPs in 2008, up from 42% in 1999 and 55% in 2002.
The survey highlighted the important role of parental education and a child’s academic performance on the saving behaviours of parents.
Children with parents who had a postsecondary education were almost twice as likely to have savings compared with children whose parents had less than high school education.
As well, 37% of children whose last grade in school was below 50% had education savings. This proportion increased to 73% among children whose last grade in school was 90% or more.
The report “Lifelong learning among Canadians aged 18 to 64 years: First results from the 2008 Access and Support to Education and Training Survey” is now available as part of the Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics: Research Papers, 2009 (81-595-M2009079, free). It can be found in the Publications module at www.statcan.gc.ca; choose Publications by subject, then Education, training and learning.