Could Canada adopt Germany’s apprenticeship model?

February 10, 2014

Maclean’s On Campus contributor Adrian Lee examines whether Canada should implement an apprenticeship program similar to the German model, which involves 4 years of free training split between class and the workplace, and offers a job upon completion. Lee points out that Germany has an unemployment rate of 5.2% (8% amoung youth), and that the country has stayed on top of the manufacturing sector by “making the things people crave most, from luxury cars and high-end appliances to mission-critical industrial equipment.” Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Executive Director Sarah Watts-Rynard says one of the biggest differences between German and Canadian apprenticeship programs is that Germany’s closely involve more industry partners. Lee points out that such employer involvement may not be reasonable for Canada as “there may simply not be enough companies with the scale to make such schemes viable.” Watts-Rynard notes that only about one in 5 skilled-trade employers are actually hiring and training apprentices in Canada at present. Lee also suggests that the German model may close off too many opportunities for a career change later in life. Maclean’s On Campus