Edmonton, ALTA — Like many provinces and territories in Canada, Alberta is struggling with a labour shortage in the skilled trades. In Calgary alone, there is an estimated 4,000 job vacancies in the construction sector.
To combat this, the Alberta government has announced a $12.4 million investment to create 2,000 additional trade apprenticeship spots, on top of an additional $15 million over three years that was previously announced.
“The Calgary Construction Association commends the Alberta government for its recognition of the labour issue and for its commitment to supporting our industry,” said Bill Black, president of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA). “This investment will not only help bridge the current labour gap but also empower our local workforce, boost economic growth, and strengthen the construction industry’s capacity to undertake essential projects in our community.”
This brings the total funding for apprenticeship training in 2023-24 to $54.4 million. Alberta is hoping that this investment will encourage students to pursue careers in the skilled trades.
“Apprenticeship programs are an essential part of Alberta’s education system. Increasing opportunities for young people to enter the trades sets them up for success and supports Alberta’s diverse industries and economy with a highly skilled workforce. Our government remains committed to expanding apprenticeship education and promoting its parity of esteem with other post-secondary education,” said Demetrios Nicolaides, minister of education.
Alberta has 47 apprenticeship education programs, each of which lasts one to four years. While Alberta accounts for 12 per cent of Canada’s labour force, the province has approximately 14 per cent of the country’s apprentices.
Through its 47 apprenticeship education programs, there are 53,922 registered apprentices in Alberta, an increase of 19 per cent from the end of 2022.