The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum reports that career opportunities outside the office-job world are priorities for apprentices across the trades.
The report based on input from the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum ePanel reveal that members entered the trades because they had an interest in a specific trade (57 per cent), were looking for a long-term career (55 per cent) and did not want an office job (40 per cent).
Financial reasons, such as an opportunity to earn higher wages and the chance to earn while learning (both 42 per cent), also motivated panelists.
Among the key positive findings, employers who hire apprentices say the apprentices they train are “a better fit with the organization” and estimate they are more productive than external hires. The benefits of building talent should be communicated to employers considering 79 per cent of preapprentices in the ePanel are trying to pursue an apprenticeship, but cannot find an employer sponsor. Pre-apprentices have shown interest, learned basic skills and earned safety certificates, addressing common employer concerns.
Also, most apprentices are satisfied with their on-the-job training, indicating current teaching, mentoring and learning methods work well. Practices such as having a buddy, meeting regularly with an employer or mentor, discussing strengths and weaknesses, talking about a training plan, discussing training goals and having opportunities to provide feedback about work processes are workplace training best practices.
The ePanel feedback also showed a diverse level of education.
When starting an apprenticeship, most apprentices and journeypersons in the ePanel had a high school diploma (27 per cent), a college diploma (17 per cent), pre-apprenticeship program and a high school diploma (16 per cent), or trades experience and a high school diploma (14 per cent).
Six per cent had a university degree. A minority had trades experience only or Youth Apprenticeship Program participation plus a high school diploma (both 3 per cent). Two per cent had pre-employment experience only.
The feedback also reaffirmed what many already know: finding a employer sponsor is a key concern
Seventy-nine per cent of pre-apprentices in the ePanel are trying to pursue an apprenticeship, but cannot find an employer sponsor (64 per cent).
The findings also reveal that the most likely avenue for securing the first employer sponsor was through a family member or friend (37 per cent). In additiona, positions were secured through online job posting (15 per cent), union (11 per cent) or co-op/ job placement (8 per cent) rather than approaching employers directly (6 per cent).
Thirty-five per cent of ePanel apprentices found it was difficult to find an employer sponsor. Employers were not hiring apprentices (64 per cent), limited opportunities (54 per cent), not knowing how to find interested employers (26 per cent), discrimination (13 per cent) and employers wanting advanced apprentices (5 per cent) were common challenges.
On the plus side, 37 per cent of ePanel apprentices are very satisfied with their on-the-job training, with 34 per cent somewhat satisfied. Ten per cent are somewhat dissatisfied and 5 per cent are very dissatisfied.
Not receiving enough training (69 per cent), journeyperson does not have time to train (40 per cent), not receiving hands-on training (32 per cent) and training not relevant to the trade (22 per cent) are common reasons for dissatisfaction. Most pre-apprentices and apprentices complete technical training at a college (57 per cent), private training institute (11 per cent) or a union training centre (9 per cent).