Fewer students are starting apprenticeship programs, complicating the challenge of finding skilled trade workers as Canada’s retirement rates accelerates.
That’s the conclusion of a new report conducted by Prism Economics and Analysis, commissioned by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF).
The 2019 National Labour Market Information Report, which examined apprentice demand in the top 10 Red Seal Trades, found that from 2019 to 2012, an estimated 67,000 new journey persons will be required to sustain workplace certification levels across the 10 largest Red Seal trades across the country (excluding Quebec and the Territories).
Given the completion rate in the various trades, that means Canada will need 167,739 new apprentices over the next five years.
The share of new automotive service journeypersons required by 2023 is 8,754. Given our completion rate, that would require at least 19,908 new apprenticeships — or some 3,981 per year. To put that in context, new auto service apprentices were:
2014 – 4,837
2015 – 4,579
2016 – 4,149
2017 – 4, 358
A decline in new apprentices across the top 10 Red Seal trades since 2014 (down 7,100 registrants, or about 20% between 2014 and 2017) and the erosion of training capacity has made achieving the target numbers even more difficult.
The drop was attributed, in part, to the rising demand for jobs in IT, the service sector, and health services, as well as the collapse in oil and resource prices in 2014, and the decline in investments in the resource sector that followed. Unlike a similar decline in new registrations caused by the 2008 recession, which saw a quick recovery in 2009, Prism found that there was no evidence that there would be a similar recovery from the oil and resource price collapse in 2014.
The top ten Red Seal trades in Canada are: construction electrician, carpenter, welder, steamfitter/pipefitter, automotive service technician, industrial mechanic (millwright), heavy-duty equipment technician, plumber, cook, and hairstylists.