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This discussion draft reviews trends in Canada's apprenticeship system over the last 20 years and then examines prospects for labor market conditions for Canada's total economy and for the construction sector to the year 2005. The apprenticeship system has a number of serious weaknesses, including the following: (1) the stagnation in new apprenticeship registrations in the 1990s, in contrast to increased enrollment in other postsecondary programs; (2) the inability of the apprenticeship system to expand beyond traditional fields; (3) the inability of the apprenticeship system to increase the extremely low proportion of women (3 percent) enrolled in apprenticeship programs; (4) the uneven development of apprenticeship programs by province; (5) the very low level of completion rates for apprenticeship programs (9.5 percent); and [6] the strong downward trend in apprenticeship completion rates, declining one-third over the past 2 decades. The trends raise serious questions about the ability of the apprenticeship system in Canada to produce an adequate supply of qualified workers for the economy. Attention should be focused on the reasons why Canada's apprenticeship system appears unable to get its apprentices to complete their programs in a timely manner, if at all; why the system has not expanded outside traditional occupations; and why women are not attracted to apprenticeship programs. (Contains 25 references and 36 tables.) (KC)

Descriptors: Apprenticeships, Building Trades, Developed Nations, Educational Trends, Employment Projections, Foreign Countries, Futures (of Society), Labor Market, Postsecondary Education, Program Effectiveness

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Autor: Sharpe, Andrew


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