Economic Development News & Insight


Why are apprenticeships so important?

Laura Fuller / February 21, 2017

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Why are apprenticeships so important?

Why are apprenticeships becoming such a beneficial option for employers, students, and the economy? There are a few reasons.

Due to a shortage of workers in trades, apprenticeships are becoming more popular for students and graduates. Incoming workers are preparing to fill professional roles that employers need to fill.

Many people do not want to incur the enormous amounts of debt that university and college tuitions cause. As of 2016, the average debt went above $25 thousand dollars. Multiple studies suggest that being in such a large amount of debt at such a young age negatively affects the mental health of individuals who owe the money.  Apprenticeships offer a way for students and young workers to earn money while actively learning about their industry, alleviating a great deal of financial stress.

Another reason why the popularity of apprenticeships has been rising is because of the benefits for both the trainee, as well as the company. Workers who choose apprentices over a degree learn about their industry in the field, as opposed to an only-classroom setting. Additionally, earning money whilst gaining experience motivates workers as they are not in severe debt, they can focus on their learning as opposed to the find-a-job-fast mindset. Employers should look into hiring more apprentices because they deliver positive ROI (return on investment). The quality of training provided in an apprenticeship results in a prepared, diligent workforce, as it is a training role rather than an education role. In addition to the ROI that an apprentice provides a company, an apprenticeship works to close the skills gap which poses a problem in many workplaces.

Despite the benefits that apprenticeships have for both employers as well as learners, nearly 75% of jobs that are being created in Ontario still require a degree. The incoming workforce is predicted to change this trend, as apprenticeships are on the rise.

Apprenticeships are often associated with being reserved for learning trade skills alone. Recently, apprenticeships have been opening up to white-collar workers as well. For example, Zurich, which is a global insurance company, offers registered internships to thousands of people.

Looking towards the future of the North American workforce, it is estimated that apprenticeships will continue to rise by 2020. In just two years, the number of apprenticeships went from 375 thousand positions to over 500 thousand registered apprenticeships.


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