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Apprentices who are married, male, or have dependents/disability take longer

December 19, 2012 | By Anthony Capkun

December 19, 2012 – The 2007 National Apprenticeship Survey (NAS) is the third survey to collect detailed information on apprentices in Canada, and focuses on the experiences of apprentices before, during and after their training. In September 2012, the remaining five studies based on the NAS were made available.

As a result of a collaborative research initiative, a total of nine reports were prepared by the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) using the NAS data set.

Findings from NAS suggest that women and immigrants were underrepresented in apprenticeship programs. Aboriginal people, however, were represented in the trades in a proportion that reflects their presence in the general population. The survey also revealed that the average age of entry to apprenticeship is close to 26 years, which suggests that apprenticeship is not the first training or work activity considered by most apprentices. The vast majority of apprentices had at least a high school education before entering apprenticeship.

NAS also revealed that many factors influence the time to completion and the completion rates of apprentices. Grades in high school, education level and prior technical training in the trade have a significant impact on an apprentice’s likelihood of completion and time to completion. The main reason former apprentices cited for not completing their apprenticeship is that there was not enough work or income. Younger apprentices are more likely to complete, but older apprentices who do complete do so in less time. Finally, apprentices who are married, have dependents, have a disability or are male all take longer to complete.


The survey also revealed that labour market conditions and the income levels of apprentices play a significant role in non-completion or delayed completion. In addition, completers had significantly better labour market outcomes than discontinuers, with annual incomes that were $8000 higher. Women earned an average of $29,000 less, of which $15,000 could be uniquely attributed to gender.

CCDA is continuing to build on the NAS collaborative research initiative through a joint approach to research that leverages the resources of jurisdictions and HRSDC. This collaborative approach enables policymaking and program-related decisions to be based on the best available information. The CCDA is currently coordinating collaborative research activities on the issue of completion, certification, and outcomes which seek to further its understanding of how apprenticeship completion and certification each affect individuals’ careers and the labour market.

— With files from Red Seal

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