Alberta boosts funding for apprenticeship training

'A trade certificate has every bit as much value and merit as a university degree’: premier

Alberta boosts funding for apprenticeship training
Registered Apprenticeship Program student Aurora Erickson demonstrates her welding skills. Alberta government

The government of Alberta has announced it will triple the amount of annual funding to CAREERS: The Next Generation to more than $6 million a year by 2022-23, providing 6,000 students with paid internships and skilled trades and technologies learning opportunities in elementary, junior high and high schools.

The funding boost will double the number of schools involved with CAREERS to 1,000 from 494, and quadruple the number of learning opportunities for students, said the government. Schools are offered age-appropriate programs, with high school students matched to employers through internships, apprenticeships, camps, workshops and mentoring. 

“Our Skills for Jobs plan is all about preparing young Albertans for great careers, and ensuring our future prosperity. We believe that a trade certificate has every bit as much value and merit as a university degree, and that apprenticeship learning deserves as much support as classroom programs. CAREERS: The Next Generation is a fantastic way of getting more young Albertans into trade apprenticeships,” said Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta.

Students in 550 high schools and 450 elementary and junior highs will have access to apprenticeship learning, with internships available to the older students. Currently, CAREERS programs are in 372 high schools and 122 junior high schools.

In 2018, CAREERS helped place 1,567 high school students in paid internships with 816 employers in 247 communities, said the government. A majority of the student interns are part of the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and Career and Technology Studies (CTS), which allow high school students to fast-track their career in the trades.

“We need to encourage more youth to enter into the skilled trades to address both the looming skilled labour shortage and one of the highest youth unemployment rates Alberta has seen in decades, said Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of advanced education.

“CAREERS: The Next Generation is a critical partner helping to make that happen by re-energizing skills development and renewing the Alberta Advantage.”

In the coming years, Alberta Labour projects some of the highest demand apprenticeship and skilled trades careers will be: mechanics, industrial mechanics, millwrights, construction and oil and gas, said the government.

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