by Melanie Joy Douglas,

Apprenticeships are the backbone of the skilled trades industry. They allow for young people to “earn while they learn.” Considering that the average bachelor graduate leaves school with an average debt of $19,500 (The Daily, National Graduates Survey), this system is an ideal way for young people to train for a career, without accumulating financial woes.

In an Alberta survey, 77% of employers of registered apprentices said that “hiring apprentices helps their bottom line and improves their competitive advantage” (

Employers who invest in apprentices see many rewards including:

  • insurance against long term labour shortages
  • ability to ensure continuity of skills and values particular to a firm
  • reduce turnover rates
  • increase customer satisfaction

However, a recent study by the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum found that there were some general problems that actually prevented employers from getting more involved with apprenticeship programs. These roadblocks include:

  • lack of information about apprenticeship training
  • economic factors which impact an employer’s ability to provide apprenticeship training
  • a lack of human and financial resources to train apprentices
  • concerns about the ability and lack of work experience of apprentices
  • issues around the regulations that govern apprenticeship training which may not align with specific business.

Tools and resources available for employers

Red Seal Program

Learning a skilled trade could be your ticket across the nation!

The Red Seal Program is an initiative designed to provide geographical mobility to skilled workers in Canada. Apprentices receive a “Red Seal” endorsement on their Certificate of Qualification and Apprenticeship by successfully completing an Interprovincial Standards Examination. Once successfully completed, the “Red Seal” designation gives qualified tradespeople the ability to work across Canada without having to write any further qualifying examinations. There are currently 45 different trade occupations recognized.

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