Alberta wants to expand use of apprenticeships into a wider variety of jobs

·1 min read
Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides introduced new legislation to replace a 30-year bill governing trades.  (Legislative Assembly Pool Feed  - image credit)
Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides introduced new legislation to replace a 30-year bill governing trades. (Legislative Assembly Pool Feed - image credit)

Alberta wants to use the apprenticeship model for training more occupations than the traditional skilled trades.

Bill 67, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act, replaces outdated legislation that made this shift impossible.

The government said apprenticeships — a type of on-the-job mentoring — only applied to trades like plumbing and hairstyling under the current Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act, which was implemented in 1991.

Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides said the use of apprenticeships could be expanded to train people in other types of occupations, especially those experiencing labour shortages.

"Areas in the service sector, many professions in business, marketing, finance, banking, I think all are strong candidates," he said.

The bill follows recommendations of the government-appointed Skills for Jobs Task Force.

Glenn Feltham, the former president of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and task force co-chair, pointed to European countries that rely more widely on the apprenticeship model of training.

"They tend to have 250 to 300 apprentices of all trades, we're sitting at about 47," Feltham said.

"When we think about the nature of growth and we look at best practice world-wide for learning and developing those those incredible careers, there are many, many opportunities."

The legislation defines the roles played by industry and post-secondary institutions in training.

Industry will set out criteria that trainees must meet to earn a journeyman certificate, but post-secondary programs will take care of determining what students will learn and how they will be taught.

Alberta's apprenticeship program is made up of 20 per cent in-class earning and 80 per cent on-the-job training.

The bill proposes streamlining the process trades students need to follow to get their journeyman certification.