Figure 11: Educational Experience by Rate of Matching

Traditional college and university programs do not offer trades-specific educational opportunities, nor are they designed to develop skills relevant to the skilled trades industry. To a skilled trades employer, an undergraduate degree holds the same weight as a recently acquired high school diploma.

In many cases, an applicant’s only opportunity for trade-related education is limited to the choice between lengthy wait lists for union-run apprenticeship positions or expensive private college preparation courses. However, as interest in quality apprenticeship opportunities grows in the public sector, specialized programming such as pre-apprenticeships, OYAP (Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program), bridging and upgrading programs are expanding to offer applicants more accessible and affordable options for trades-related education.

While awareness of these programs grows among applicants, employers are beginning to recognize trades-related education as a tangible step that can offer applicants specialized trades-related skills and experience. Thus, with time, it appears that trades-related education will grow from being a winning condition in the initial stages of understanding apprenticeship to a more concrete credential that can benefit applicants in developing positive relationships with potential employers.

Apprenticeship Training

Once registered as an apprentice, applicants are able to further their education with a choice of full-time ‘block’ release or part-time ‘day’ release training and reported no substantial challenges in completing this portion of their apprenticeships. Issues mentioned included a perceived lack of applicability of curriculum to workplace tasks, and the difficulty of transitioning back to school after being in the workforce. But overall, the apprentices interviewed for this study found the in-school training process to be supportive and free of major obstacles.