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Apprentices benefit employers in B.C.: study

CANADA, November 22 - People in British Columbia and employers will learn the economic value of apprenticeships, thanks to a study funded by the B.C. government and Canadian Apprenticeship Forum - Forum Canadien sur l’Apprentissage (CAF-FCA).

“Building a stronger B.C. means supporting the people who build our province,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “This research shows how essential apprentices are to address the skills gap. This study demonstrates the value apprentices bring to employers and our economy, and helps inform employers looking to attract and retain more apprentices to meet our labour needs.”

To develop up-to-date data regarding the value of apprenticeship training to employers in B.C., CAF-FCA updated and replicated its 2006 and 2009 study across 13 skilled trades. The trades sector spans numerous industries of B.C.’s economy, such as construction, manufacturing, mining, forestry, mineral and resource extraction, automotive, marine and shipbuilding services, aerospace, and tourism and hospitality.

This study was commissioned to help better understand if employer participation in apprenticeship training represents a return on investment to employers. While the return on investment to employers when hiring apprentices differs by trade, the results showed a positive return in most trades for employers who invest in apprenticeship training, and the investment increases in each year of the apprenticeship. For every dollar invested in apprenticeship training, employers received an average positive return of 36 cents. This ranged from an average positive return of 35 cents for construction trades to 43 cents for industrial trades.

In addition to financial benefits, employers also reported a range of non-financial benefits associated with training apprentices. Most employers reported positive impacts, including better retention of internally trained journeypersons. The final report also identified strategies for encouraging higher levels of participation in apprenticeship training among employers to ensure skills and training needs of current and future labour markets can be met.

CAF-FCA is a non-profit organization that connects Canada’s apprenticeship community. The membership represents stakeholders in the trades sector, including employers and employer associations, unions, equity-seeking groups and educational institutions across Canada. This study was funded by the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills and the federal government through Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The findings presented in this report are based on information provided by 533 employers across British Columbia who employed one or more apprentices in 2022.


Shelley Gray, CEO, SkilledTradesBC

“Engaging in apprenticeship programs is an effective investment in business growth and future generations of skilled-trades talents. The latest study reaffirms that apprenticeships not only cultivate a strong and sustainable workforce but also offer positive financial return on investment, bolstering business resilience in the evolving market.”

Kathy Price, construction administrator, Knappett Projects Inc.  

“For the company, it’s an easy win-win situation. We need skilled trades and when we provide mentorship, it has proven to be a good thing that accelerates learning and development. When we support the apprentice with the tools for success, we too reap the benefits of a skilled worker, long-term retention, self-pride of work reflected in the quality of our work.”

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