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Youth perceptions of careers in the skilled trades are improving

October 10, 2013 | By Anthony Capkun

October 10, 2013 – The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) provides fresh insights into the way youth across Canada perceive the skilled trades in its latest report “Apprenticeship Analysis: Youth Perceptions of Careers in the Skilled Trades”.

“CAF-FCA members have placed a high priority on raising awareness among young people about apprenticeship, trade certification and career opportunities in the skilled trades. Apprenticeship remains a first-choice solution to addressing skills shortages,” said Sarah Watts-Rynard, CAF executive director.

Current and anticipated skills shortages, combined with a demographic crunch as baby boomers retire, have raised expectations around recruiting the next-generation workforce. An important element of attracting young people to the skilled trades is understanding how their perceptions and attitudes affect career decisions, says CAF.

In this report, CAF-FCA documents the findings of a national survey with more than 800 students across Canada in Spring 2013, and compares the results to findings from a parallel investigation in 2004.


“Over the last decade, the apprenticeship community has expended tremendous resources on this effort. Gauging how youth perceive the trades today tells us where we’ve seen successes and provides a roadmap to inform future initiatives,” added Watts-Rynard.

Survey results indicate youth are more open to considering a skilled trades career than they were in past, are more aware of career options, have better access to information and value the contribution of tradespeople.

“We can definitely see improvement in youth awareness and attitudes,” Watts-Rynard said. “At the same time, we’re seeing the need for stronger messages around opportunities for women, and better outreach to parents and others who provide career direction to students.”

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