National Apprenticeship Survey: Canada Overview Report 2015
Section 10 Conclusion

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The 2015 National Apprenticeship Survey provides a comprehensive source of data about apprentices who completed or discontinued their apprenticeships in 2011, 2012, or 2013. This report summarized key findings regarding the factors and challenges related to apprentices completing or discontinuing their apprenticeships, including financial support, as well as labour market outcomes, mobility, and attitudes of apprentices. An analysis of results pertaining to three demographic groups of interest provided further insight into the experiences of women, Aboriginal people and immigrants in the apprenticeship system.

According to the 2015 NAS, the majority of apprentices registered before the age of 25, with an average age of registration of 27Note 1, and were single with no dependants under the age of 18 when starting a program. At the time of registration, the highest level of education for the majority of NAS apprentices was a high school diploma. Most were apprentices in a Red Seal trade. The majority of apprentices were completers.

NAS apprentices encountered challenges throughout their apprenticeships, and the NAS served to highlight their experiences. The most commonly cited reasons for embarking on an apprenticeship were “was interested in the trade,” “liked working conditions,” and “expected a steady job.” Most apprentices worked with only one employer during a program and the majority of apprentices reported no difficulty finding an employer who was hiring apprentices when starting an apprenticeship. Most apprentices did not find the work experience or course work difficult and rated highly the equipment and technology used during their technical training. The majority of apprentices also reported that work experience acquired during an apprenticeship prepared them well for a certification exam.

Results with respect to financial support showed that apprenticeships are funded largely through employment earnings from apprenticeship employers. Results also show that more completers than discontinuers took advantage of other available supports, such as incentive and completion grants, tax credits, Employment Insurance benefits, and training allowances. Completers were also more likely to receive additional assistance from their apprenticeship employers.

An examination of the certification status of apprentices in the NAS population showed that the vast majority of completers had a CoQ in their trades. Among apprentices who did not have certification, the majority of completers had attempted a certification exam while most discontinuers had not. Among completers, the majority had a Red Seal endorsement.

Apprentices generally had positive employment outcomes, as most were employed in permanent jobs, worked full-time hours, and reported having had benefits in their jobs. Discontinuers were more likely than completers to be self-employed. Additionally, the majority of completers were working in the same occupation as the trade related to their apprenticeship programs. The vast majority of NAS apprentices reported that they were satisfied with their pay, job security, and health and safety conditions at work.

Key findings regarding the mobility of apprentices showed that only a small proportion had moved from another province, territory, or country to start an apprenticeship. Most apprentices who worked outside of their provinces or territories of registration during an apprenticeship did so because the job required it. Few apprentices resided and worked in different provinces or territories. Across the top 10 Red Seal trades, steamfitter / pipefitter apprentices had the highest proportion who lived and worked in different provinces or territories; they were followed by welder, industrial mechanic, and plumber apprentices.

Information about apprentices’ attitudes toward apprenticeship and trade occupations indicated that most apprentices had positive attitudes toward the trades. Most agreed or strongly agreed that “being an apprentice / an apprenticeship program is the best way to learn a trade” and that “trade occupations pay better than other jobs.” Moreover, most apprentices did not regard the trades as a second-choice career. However, a higher proportion of older apprentices than younger apprentices agreed with the latter statement. The vast majority of NAS apprentices thought that Canadians increasingly view trade occupations as a good career option.

Women represented a small proportion of apprentices in the NAS population. Most women apprentices had worked in a job or business in the week prior to the survey interview, but they were less likely to be employed than their male counterparts. Aboriginal apprentices were more likely to report difficulties progressing through their programs than non-Aboriginal apprentices. Although Aboriginal apprentices were less likely than non-Aboriginal apprentices to be employed, those who had worked in the week prior to the survey interview were just as likely as non-Aboriginal apprentices to be self-employed and to work full-time hours. Lastly, immigrant apprentices were more likely than non-immigrant apprentices to report having had difficulty finding an employer at the beginning of an apprenticeship. The survey indicates, nonetheless, that immigrant apprentices had employment outcomes similar to those of non-immigrant apprentices.

These survey results provide new information about apprentices across Canada and can be used by apprenticeship authorities, educators and policymakers involved with apprenticeship programs. This information may also be useful to individuals considering trade occupations as a career option.


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