“Across the country, thousands of skilled tradespeople go to work every day to build the homes Canadians need. But to keep up with the pace and scale required to build more homes faster, our growing country needs to attract even more of the skilled tradespeople and workers who can build the homes required to meet our ambitious housing targets”
- Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement
Skilled trades careers play a crucial role in our communities, and their continued growth and success are essential for economic prosperity.
Despite the demand for skilled trades professionals and the increasing recognition of the skilled trades as a viable career path, accessing skilled trades talent remains a labour market challenge for the country for five main reasons:
- Job seekers find the apprenticeship system challenging to navigate. The common theme in feedback from job seekers is that the apprenticeship pathway is fragmented and difficult to navigate. Individuals on the skilled trades pathway must work with multiple agencies to simply register and often don’t have one institution or employer for the duration of their apprenticeship to address their needs.
- Job seekers lack the networks and connections to find and secure employment. In a recent survey of young people by ApprenticeSearch.com, 55% of respondents identified needing help connecting with employers as their top barrier to developing a career in the skilled trades.
- There is a mismatch in the interests of job seekers and employers. There’s a disconnect between where job seekers and graduates seek opportunities and where the need for talent actually exists. We see this disconnect play out on ApprenticeSearch.com, where the top job searches from applicants don’t match the most in-demand job openings from employers.
- There are barriers to participation for Individuals from equity-deserving groups. ApprenticeSearch.com’s research, Exploring Apprenticeship Training and Support Needs for Underrepresented Ontario Job Seekers, explored the systemic barriers and roadblocks preventing equity-seeking group members from pursuing employment in the skilled trades. Our project found that individuals are experiencing barriers to entry, barriers to participation, and barriers to retention, and that these experiences of exclusion can be alienating and isolating for folks to navigate without additional support.
- Employers require support to hire and onboard apprentices. In a recent survey of skilled trades employers conducted by ApprenticeSearch.com, finding candidates was one of the top barriers faced by employers, often due to a lack of internal capacity. This lack of capacity can dissuade employers from hiring and training apprentices, as they often lack the time and resources to search for candidates, research and understand the apprenticeship process, or inquire about and access available grants and incentives.
A clear and essential mechanism to ensure there are enough skilled trades professionals to build these homes is a re-investment in the programs and delivery agents within the Canadian Apprenticeship Strategy, up for renewal in Budget 2024.
ApprenticeSearch.com is Canada’s only employer-apprentice job-matching platform that connects employers with job seekers in the trades and provides essential wrap-around services to ensure apprentices can secure long-term employment. If they get left behind, so will skilled trades workers.
In order to ensure new housing gets built, the government must invest in the people building them. The time to support the skilled trades workforce is now.
For more information, read our pre-budget submission here.