Auto Service World
News   November 23, 2015   by Allan Janssen

Auto service apprentices slump

Statistics Canada figures show significant drop in 2013, down about 5% from 2010.

Apprenticeships-2The number of apprentices enrolled in automotive service programs in 2013 was down about 5% from a recent high-water mark set in 2010, Statistics Canada figures show.

The recently released data from all provinces and territories except for Quebec shows there were 43,683 automotive service apprentices in 2013, down from 45,870 in 2010. (Quebec submitted apprenticeship numbers for other trades, but changed its reporting process for automotive apprenticeships.)

The drop in automotive service apprentices is in stark contrast to the total number of apprentices in the country, which stood at 469,680 in 2013, up more than 9% from 2010’s total of 430,452.

Apprenticeships-1Red Seal trades accounted for some 362,997 registrations in 2013.

In all trades, including automotive service, the number of registrations for female apprentices has climbed steadily since 2009. In automotive service, 1,971 women were enrolled as apprentices in 2013, up about 10% from 1,794 in 2010.

In all trades, women make up 14.1% of the apprenticeship population – some 66,111 in 2013.

Well over half of the automotive service apprentices (26,139) were in their 20s, with another 4,803 still in their teens.

Predictably, the bulk of automotive service registrants were in Ontario, with 24,537 apprentices. Alberta added 7,257 to the total, and British Columbia brought in another 6,534. The British Columbia stats showed a notable rise in 2013 when changes were made to the provincial apprenticeship system as it pertained to automotive service technicians. Apprentices no longer had to complete mandatory work-based training hours at each program level before progressing to the next level of technical training.

Even without Quebec reporting, automotive service was the fourth largest apprenticeship trade, according to Statistics Canada. It followed electricians (71,646 apprentices), carpenters (49,620), and plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters (48,948). Together these four trade groups accounted for about half of all male apprentices.

Just over 65,000 certificates were awarded in 2013. The majority of these certificates (72.2%) were issued to apprentices, with the balance being awarded to trade qualifiers who challenged the exam.

Almost 23,000 of the certificates issued in 2013 had the Red Seal endorsement. Of the 2,586 automotive service certificates issued, 1,941 of them were with the Red Seal endorsement.

Data tables showing further breakdown of the results can be found on the Statistics Canada website or go to

Statistics Canada says it is currently conducting interviews with apprentices (until February 7, 2016) for its upcoming National Apprenticeship Survey.

Allan Janssen is the editor of CARS magazine. You can reach him at 416-614-5814 or

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1 Comment » for Auto service apprentices slump
  1. Dwindling enrolment is one of the main reasons why my partner was instrumental in setting up grant and scholarship programs at a local high school auto program. He’d even set aside time to make presentations to the students to ensure they were fully aware of income possibilities and industry need.

    To honor him after his passing in June 2015, I am setting up, in cooperation with our Lethbridge College Auto Tech program, SnapOn Canada and Silver Automotive, our local AutoSelect supplier, a $4000/year tool award. The Brian Kaltenbruner Memorial Tool Award will see annual awards of $1500 for the most deserving first year and $2500 for the most deserving third year apprentices. The awards will be in the form of tool gift certificates, providing tangible assistance to students.

    There is no application process, just a criterion of points of excellence to be decided upon by the instructors to identify two students who consistently demonstrate the most obvious commitment to excellence and desire to learn as well as showing personal need. High marks will not he the deciding factor, as many students with obvious talents are also those who choke up and not do well in a “test” atmosphere.

    Rather than simply bemoaning the fate of the industry, it is upon business owners and our industry as a whole to self promote to attract the necessary students to populate the many industry openings with the brightest and most talented students we can.

    I challenge each of you to look into the possibility of setting up similar awards programs at your local school venue. In addition to individuals, my biggest supplier has earmarked an ongoing gift of $500/year for the awards and SnapOn is contributing $500/year as well. I’ll not be satisfied until I’ve tapped every possible resource.

    I ($2500) and Harold’s Auto Service ($1000) are putting our money where our mouths are and funding the awards for the foreseeable future while contributing partners funds help build what I hope to be an ongoing program towards excellence. Yes, I could earmark those funds for a nice vacation but ensuring the availability of good tech’s is a priority.

    What can you and your organization to do jump in the deep end to save a flailing industry?

    Beverly Kaltenbruner
    Harold’s Auto Service
    …..where service is MORE than just part of our named
    3139 1 Ave South
    Lethbridge, Ab T1J4H1

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