Stats on Discontinued Apprenticeship Programs

Statistics Canada

Completing apprenticeship training and becoming a journeyperson generally contributes positively to individuals’ labour market outcomes. For example, two years after certifying in the trades, journeypersons had a median employment income of $62,620 in 2019. This compares with $49,400 for individuals who completed an undergraduate degree.

Many factors impact one’s ability to complete an apprenticeship program. For instance, trade certification is tied to business cycles and the health of local labour markets as apprentices seek to maintain suitable employment to fulfill the requirements for on-the-job hours and technical training. 

Of those who started an apprenticeship program between 2008 and 2010, 44% discontinued their program within six years of registration. Over the same period, 40% of apprentices completed their program and were certified in their trade. The percentages varied across occupations and between men and women. Male apprentices had lower discontinuation rates than female apprentices (43% versus 49%). This finding was observed for many trades, especially in programs where women have historically been underrepresented. This includes most construction-related trades, such as carpenters.

Men and women had different pathways after discontinuation. Men (27%) were more likely than women (10%) to apprentice in another trade. In contrast, women (30%) were more likely than men (17%) to pursue another postsecondary program at a public college or university.

Discontinuing an apprenticeship program does not necessarily mean an individual has ceased pursuing employment in the skilled trades. After discontinuing a program, 26% of men and 10% of women studied another trade. Of the discontinuers who apprenticed in another trade, 44% of men and 57% of women apprenticed in a program related to the discontinued trade. This suggests that some discontinuers switched to another closely related trade rather than leaving their career in the skilled trades altogether. They may pursue a job more aligned with their interests or provide better employment outcomes. Some of the training and experience they acquired in the discontinued program may have been transferred.

After discontinuing their apprenticeship training, some individuals attended a postsecondary institution, and female discontinuers were more likely to do so than their male counterparts. Of those who attended a postsecondary institution after discontinuation, 28% of women and 21% of men enrolled in a degree program. The remainder enrolled in a shorter certificate or diploma program. Slightly more women were in programs granting a diploma (47%) than in programs giving a certificate (45%), whereas men were more likely to study for certification (47%) than for a diploma (36%).

Some discontinuers appeared to be pursuing a related field rather than leaving a trade altogether. For instance, about half of those who started studying another trade did so in a related program. Similarly, some of those who attended a postsecondary institution after discontinuing their apprenticeship training studied in a field related to the trade they discontinued. 

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