Disproportionate Declines: Female apprentices were more affected by pandemic barriers than males, says CAF report

Ottawa, Ontario — The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) has unveiled its results report for 2022, where it suggests that female apprentices were more affected by the barriers imposed by the pandemic compared to male counterparts.

“The decline in female apprentices was proportionately larger than that of male apprentices for both new registrations and completions,” wrote the organization in its report.

In 2020, women apprentices made up five percent of registrations across the construction, manufacturing and transportation sectors. The CAF hopes to increase this figure to 15 percent by 2030.

“Now is the time to invest in women’s leadership development in the skilled trades,” wrote the group. “As journeypersons retire and leave the workforce…women could play an important role in addressing skills shortages first as apprentices, and then as journeypersons, forepersons, managers and business owners.”

Between 2019 and 2020, overall new apprenticeship registrations fell in “all provinces and trade programs,” said the CAF.

“New registrations retreated to historically low levels, and Newfoundland and Labrador reported its lowest number of new registrations since the beginning of the series in 1991.”

The report also indicates that, while journeyperson employment has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, apprenticeship employment has not.

In a survey of 619 apprentices and journeypersons across Canada, only 29 percent of apprentices said they were employed, compared to 43 percent prior to the pandemic. Level 1 apprentices reported the highest unemployment levels, wrote the CAF.

Further, 65 percent of apprentices reported losing income during the pandemic; 56 percent said they fell behind in their technical training; 45 percent said they weren’t able to earn hours toward their apprenticeships and 28 percent said they were unable to write their final certification exams.

For more information on apprenticeship statistics across Canada, download CAF’s report here. 


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