An apprenticeship in the skilled trades is an important entry point to a long-lasting, good-paying career that provides opportunities around the province.
A key element of apprenticeship is on-the-job training: about 80% is on the job, while 20% is technical learning in the classroom.
The Province is maximizing the value of government spending on capital infrastructure by requiring a portion of the hours that Red Seal trades people work on provincial capital construction projects be performed by apprentices.
In 2015, the Province introduced a policy requiring the use of apprentices for provincially funded projects valued at $15 million or more. While this policy required the use of apprentices, it did not establish an apprentice ratio.
In early 2018, government hosted three engagement sessions with 18 participants from industry and union associations, contractors and individuals to gather advice and guidance on how to improve an apprenticeship ratio policy to make it more effective.
2018 apprenticeship ratio policy:
- By 2020-21, 25% of Red Seal trade hours that are worked on all public infrastructure construction valued at $15 million or more will be worked by apprentices.
- For example, a new building such as a school would typically require approximately 23,000 total trade-worker hours. Under this new policy, 5,750 of those hours (25%) would be done by apprentices.
- The work-hour ratio will vary by project depending on site conditions, safety considerations and the nature of the project, with an average of 25% of hours across all projects.
- At the current level of government infrastructure investment, achieving the 25% work-hour ratio target will result in an increase of 500 apprentices over the next three years.
- This apprenticeship ratio will be part of the Community Benefits Agreement: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0057-001406
- A detailed implementation plan of the new apprenticeship ratio policy is under development. The new apprenticeship ratio policy will begin to apply in fall 2018.
Benefits of the new apprenticeship ratio policy:
- Maximize the value of government spending on provincial infrastructure by supporting the development of a future skilled workforce.
- Create more opportunities for people who want to build a career in the trades, including people under-represented in the workforce, such as Indigenous peoples, women and youth.
- Provide a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of the apprentice ratio policy.
Facts about apprenticeships in B.C.:
- About 18% of construction trades are apprenticeships.
- There are more than 35,000 adult apprentices, over 4,000 youth program participants and more than 4,000 foundation students in the province.
- Approximately 10% of apprentices are women.
- Approximately 6% of apprentices are Indigenous.