Alberta’s government knows that apprenticeship learning has every bit as much value as academic learning and that skilled trades have just as much worth as university degrees.
In the coming years, skilled trades workers in Alberta will be in higher demand than ever as we continue to see a shortage in these crucial areas of our workforce. According to BuildForce Canada projections, Alberta’s construction and maintenance industry will need to hire almost 65,000 workers over the next decade to meet growth and replace an estimated 41,500 workers expected to retire.
Alberta has the largest working-age population and the lowest median age among all the provinces. However, as of December 2020, Alberta’s youth unemployment rate was 25 per cent.
We need to make sure that the young people in Alberta know the value of a skilled trades career and the success they can provide. That is why Alberta’s government is taking steps to support skilled trades and expand apprenticeship education.
We have already acted to support skilled trades and apprenticeship education including creating the Alberta Trades Hall of Fame, increasing funding to CAREERS: The Next Generation, improving support for Women Building Futures, and several other initiatives.
Following through on our campaign promise, the Skills for Jobs Task Force was appointed in the fall of 2019 to evaluate and reimagine Alberta’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system. The Task Force’s recommendations on strengthening and expanding apprenticeship education and skills development were carefully reviewed.
Now, we are making changes to better meet the needs of students and the skilled trades industry.
Through the proposed changes in Bill 67, the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act, we will modernize apprenticeship education and the governance of skilled trade professions. These changes will help us ensure that Alberta’s workforce is skilled, competitive and equipped to deal with challenges today and into the future.
In 2019, we committed to expanding the apprenticeship model to other careers with emerging demand, and with Bill 67, we are doing just that. The proposed changes will allow for the apprenticeship education model to be applied to other professions.
Apprenticeship education has proven to strongly support student learning and success, and we believe this model can be used beyond the designated trades.
If passed, Bill 67 will represent another promise made, promise kept to Albertans. The changes complement the goals of the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy – to ensure that every student has the skills and knowledge they need to enjoy fulfilling lives and careers and to build a globally competitive workforce.
Alberta’s government recognizes the value of hands-on learning for both students and employers and knows the merit of skilled trades and apprenticeship education. The Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act is another step to support the future of these workers and their industries.