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Manitoba moves ahead with plans to modernize apprenticeship system

Richard Gilbert

The provincial government released a report last week from the Apprenticeship Futures Commission. The document makes recommendations for modernizing and expanding the province’s apprenticeship system.

Skills Training

Manitoba is updating its apprenticeship program.

The provincial government released a report last week from the Apprenticeship Futures Commission that makes recommendations for modernizing and expanding the province's apprenticeship system.

The 12-member committee, chaired by Leonard Harapiak, consulted with the public and stakeholders regarding existing apprenticeship and related training, and certification systems.

The government will also work with its partners including employers, government educational institutions and employees to increase opportunities for young people in the trades.

The main aim of the public consultation was to identify opportunities and challenges with respect to meeting the needs of the labour market.

“I will be looking closely at their suggestions for updating and expanding the apprenticeship system in forthcoming weeks in order to attract more workers to the program and increase the availability of skilled labour to meet the growing demand,” said Competitiveness, Training and Trade Minister Andrew Swan.

The report provides 22 recommendations including:

• Increasing the capacity of the technical training system to meet the projected need for skilled tradespeople including better partnerships with the public school system.

• Creating a comprehensive public promotion and education campaign about apprenticeship in Manitoba.

• Exploring the introduction of a variety of incentives to encourage increased employer participation in the apprenticeship system.

• Enhancing the financial support to apprentices during in-school training and pursuing discussions to significantly reduce the waiting period for apprentices.

• Significantly increasing participation by under-represented groups in Manitoba’s apprenticeship system including Aboriginal people, new Canadians, women and the disabled.

• Reviewing existing provincial legislation and regulations to support the growth of technical training spaces.

The minister discussed the importance of the changes to the province’s economy.

“A highly-skilled workforce is vital to Manitoba’s economic prosperity,” Swan said.

“These recommendations will allow us to build on our accomplishments, including a 65 per cent increase in apprenticeships since 1999, and will help us meet our commitment to add an additional 4,000 apprenticeship training spaces over the next four years.”

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