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Apprenticeship Issues and Challenges Facing Canadian Manufacturing Industries


  • Andrew Sharpe


  • Jean-François Arsenault


  • Simon Lapointe


The apprenticeship system is generally associated with the construction industry. However, the manufacturing industry actually employs a greater amount of persons in apprenticeable occupations than construction. With the rise in value of the Canadian dollar and increased international competition from developing countries, manufacturing industries must increasingly invest in the skills of their workers. Apprenticeship training is often viewed as a possible solution to this challenge. The objective of this report is to discuss issues related to skilled labour shortages and to apprenticeship in manufacturing. The report finds that in recent years the manufacturing sector has suffered from low output and employment growth. In contrast with these findings, the manufacturing sector is reporting increasing shortages of skilled labour. These conflicting indicators suggest that skills shortages in the manufacturing sector are a result of a strong overall labour market rather than dependent on sector specific developments. Growing skills shortages underline the importance for the manufacturing to train and retain employees despite the poor market conditions prevailing in the sector. In this context, apprenticeship programs are highly relevant to the manufacturing sector as 14 per cent of its workforce is in apprenticeable occupations. However, strong growth in the number of apprentices in manufacturing has not been followed by a commensurate increase in the number of completions. Much needs to be done if the apprenticeship system is to significantly foster the international competitiveness of the Canadian manufacturing sector through the development of a highly skilled workforce.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Sharpe & Jean-François Arsenault & Simon Lapointe, 2008. "Apprenticeship Issues and Challenges Facing Canadian Manufacturing Industries," CSLS Research Reports 2008-02, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
  • Handle: RePEc:sls:resrep:0802

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Francois Arsenault & Andrew Sharpe, 2008. "An Analysis of the Causes of Weak Labour Productivity Growth in Canada since 2000," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 16, pages 14-39, Spring.
    2. repec:mes:challe:v:59:y:2016:i:5:p:405-421 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Apprenticeship; Apprenticeship completion rates; Trades; Canadian manufacturing developments; Manufacturing apprenticeships; Skilled labour shortage; Government policy; Labour Market Information (LMI);

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • M53 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Training

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