WINNING CONDITIONS FOR APPRENTICESHIP

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Appendix A: Research Methodology


The findings for this report come from information collected by ApprenticeSearch.com staff. Two forms of quantitative data were analyzed. First, profile information was gathered on both successful applicants and the employers that hired them between 2010 and 2014. Applicant information included such items as type of work, applicant and job location, as well as apprenticeship level, education and select demographics. From the employer side, data were captured on their previous use of ApprenticeSearch.com, the industry they were situated in, and their expectations for applicants.

Second, along with this observational data, ApprenticeSearch.com developed internal measures capturing the strength of apprentice applications, the degree to which ApprenticeSearch.com facilitated a potential match, and the date when a match was established. The purpose of measuring strength in each application, and applying a given designation to that applicant, was to allow site staff to administer appropriate supports and assistance to the job-seeker. Candidate designation was fluid, and could be improved over time and with effort from ApprenticeSearch.com staff who dedicated resources to equipping candidates with the information on qualification-boosting services and programs that could, in theory, improve their designation from “lacking qualification” to “partially qualified” and eventually to “strong qualifications”.

Four cautions should be noted. First, the purpose for capturing the data was not, initially, to analyze patterns or relationships. As such, a variable such as the qualification designations assigned to candidates by ApprenticeSearch.com staff, while providing some insights, cannot be said to have been applied consistently across candidates. Indeed, it was used as a flexible system and captures a particular point in time (since applicant designations could change throughout the process). Second, given the size and resources limitations at ApprenticeSearch.com, It was not possible to exhaustively capture data on every candidate who was successfully matched through ApprenticeSearch.com, nor was it possible to seek out every employer who utilized the service to successfully hire an apprentice. The applicant-employer sample used in this report is depicted in the figure below.

Figure 12: Sample of Successful Apprenticeships Facilitated by ApprenticeSearch.com by Year

Thus, the findings that emerge are intended to posit further questions and not to generalize to the broader Ontario skills trade population. Although ApprenticeSearch.com is a provincial resource, this report uses data gathered mostly from the Greater Hamilton–Toronto Area, where the sample pool of applicants and employers can most effectively represent the broader skilled trades landscape in Ontario. Third, this report only analyzes data from successful applicants; those unsuccessful in their apprentice search were not included. Given this focus, the study is unable to make broad claims about the nature or characteristics of both successful applicants and relevant employers, even when limiting the analysis to apprenticesearch.com. Finally, the measures developed by ApprenticeSearch.com (e.g. designations by qualification) often include key indicators one might include when attempting to understand success. For example, the designations by qualification variable accounts for previous experience. Thus, when conducting more complex analysis, there is a risk of tautology. Nonetheless, the exercise does provide an important ability to compare successful apprentice candidates, evaluate the coding undertaken by apprenticesearch.com, and provide verification that such attributes matter.

A second source of evidence was derived from interviews conducted in April and May 2015 by ApprenticeSearch.com staff with apprentices and employers who had been successfully matched through the site (see Appendix B for a list of interview participants). The purpose of the interviews was two-fold. First, the intention was to use the feedback about ApprenticeSearch.com to augment the findings emerging from the quantitative data collected. Second, as a means of fully understanding the challenges and opportunities in pathways to apprentice’s success, the interviews aimed at capturing how individuals viewed their participation in the apprenticeship process.

As with the quantitative data collected, the interviews do not allow for a comparison of those who were not