VICTORIA—What is the economic value of apprenticeship?
The B.C. government is looking to find out by partnering with the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) and the BC Construction Association (BCCA) on a new study.
“The skilled trades are at the centre of our COVID-19 recovery and building a stronger B.C. means supporting the people who build up our province,” said Anne Kang, minister of advanced education and skills training, in a statement. “As the demand for skilled trades workers grows, apprentices will be a vital part of filling the gap. Through research and collaboration, we’re working to demonstrate the value apprentices bring to employers and the provincial economy.”
The CAF is a non-profit organization that connects Canada’s apprenticeship community. The membership represents stakeholders in the trades sector, including employers and employer associations, unions, equity-seeking groups and educational institutions across Canada.
It isn’ the first time CAF has investigated the topic.
In 2006 and 2009 the group conducted two national studies to calculate the economic return on training investment for employers who hired apprentices. In 2006, using a cost-benefit model, CAF found that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship training, an employer receives an average benefit of $1.38. When the study was repeated in 2009, the return had increased to $1.47.
While the net benefit to employers when hiring apprentices differs by trade, the results showed in the majority of trades there is a positive return for those employers that invest in apprenticeship training, and the net benefit increases in each year of the apprenticeship.
The new study will update and replicate their 2009 study for the B.C. market across 21 skilled trades. The trades sector spans numerous industries of B.C.’s economy, including construction, manufacturing, mining, forestry, mineral and resource extraction, automotive, marine and shipbuilding, services, aerospace, and tourism and hospitality.
The study is expected to take 20 months to complete, with estimated completion in July 2023. Working in partnership with the BCCA through focus groups and surveys, the project will examine employment in the skilled trades sector, determine the prevalence of apprenticeship training among employers, and quantify the return on training investment for employers in B.C.
Additionally, the final report will identify strategies for encouraging higher levels of participation in apprenticeship training among employers to ensure the skills and training needs of the current and future labour market can be met.