This review has been a complex and necessary undertaking. The challenges identified by stakeholders have been both expected and eye-opening. Our recommendations are comprehensive and thoughtful as a result of the in-depth feedback received from those we engaged.

Overarching key themes

While each stakeholder group shared particular challenges that are unique to them, the following overarching challenges and barriers were identified:

  1. Lack of information - There is a lack of clear information on apprenticeship pathways which negatively impacts ones confidence in pursuing or recommending the skilled trades and apprenticeship training. 
  2. Unclear pathways - The apprenticeship system is complex, with multiple entry points. Youth, their parents and educators are unsure about how to navigate the system.
  3. Lack of coordination - More robust regional coordination is required between district school boards, MLTSD regional offices, employers and local industry associations to support more coordinated workforce planning and partnership development.
  4. Employer engagement - Employers have a preference for experienced workers. This means that they are hesitant to hire and sponsor young people in their apprenticeship journey due to the perception that youth are not as mature, committed or work-ready as other candidates with more life experience. In addition, they suggested that youth might pose a health and safety risk.
  5. Targeting supports - for everyone with further support for underrepresented groups, who face additional barriers – There are a many non-visible barriers preventing youth, especially youth from underrepresented groups and communities, from pursuing a career in the skilled trades. These barriers include financial, transportation limitations, having to delay training to work/support family and previous negative on-the-job experiences. Targeted supports for underrepresented groups are required.