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One Canadian organization is connecting employers and apprentices across the country to address challenges in accessing skilled trades talent.     

For almost 25 years, ApprenticeSearch.com has established itself as a leader in supporting apprentices and employers with programs and services that increase participation in the apprenticeship pathway. The site is visited by millions of people each year, generating thousands of confirmed job matches and repeat hirings from the over 5,000 skilled trades employers in its database.  

“We’re not just a job board,” says Kathryn Gibbons, Program Manager with ApprenticeSearch.com. “We offer several programs and have a team of job coaches and employment specialists who work with apprentices and individuals considering a career in the trades. We also collaborate with employers to meet industry demands. We are not a people-less system. This is what differentiates us.” 

We’re not just a job board. We offer several programs and have a team of job coaches and employment specialists who work with apprentices and individuals considering a career in the trades.

Michelle Murray, Director of Operations, ApprenticeSearch.com, offers more insight into the work being done to meet the demand for skilled trades professionals in Canada. 
How does navigating the apprenticeship pathway help ensure more workers in the trades?

We do a lot of work to promote the trades, and we’re starting to see a shift where people are seeing the trades as a first career choice. But there can be barriers that prevent people from pursuing an apprenticeship. The pathway to enter the trades is fragmented within each trade and also between sectors. There are different apprentice pathways and prerequisites. We help people who wouldn’t have this insight to navigate the system so they can become apprentices and certified tradespeople. 

How do you bridge the gap between interest and industry demand?

We have a rich set of data that allows us to match interest with the demands of industry. Some people think of becoming a plumber, for example, but they don’t know that becoming a sprinkler fitter might be in more demand. Or sometimes people have their minds set on a particular trade, but when we work with them, they find out their skills are better suited for a different trade. We also host education sessions with industry representatives so prospective apprentices can network, ask questions, and get to know the sector better.

How do we ensure equity-deserving groups, including women, have opportunities in the trades? 

We have a long history of working within the community to empower workers and job seekers who face higher barriers to meaningful employment, including women, racialized individuals, persons with disabilities or mental health challenges, and members of at-risk communities.  

Half of our users are from equity-deserving groups. And while we’ve seen an increase in women and others who haven’t typically been represented in the trades, we still have more work to do. It can be isolating when you don’t see your gender or race represented in the workplace. We’ve developed a peer mentorship group for women in the trades. We can facilitate access to mental health supports, protective equipment and tools. Additionally, we support our employers to foster more inclusive workplaces. This can include advocating for flexible schedules for childcare, washrooms for women, and work gear that is designed and fitted for women.  

How is a collaborative approach helping with apprentice recruitment?

We work with employers of all sizes to support them in connecting with qualified candidates, but small- and medium-sized businesses can really benefit from our services because they typically don’t have human resources departments. One program that has proven successful is the Canadian Apprenticeship Service, which is being delivered through a unique partnership of the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, the Aboriginal Apprenticeship Board of Ontario, the Canadian Construction Association, BuildForce Canada, SkillPlan, and ApprenticeSearch.com,
with funding from the Government of Canada’s Apprenticeship Service Program. Small- and medium-sized businesses can receive financial incentives for hiring Level 1 apprentices, including $10,000 per apprentice per year, if the apprentice identifies as being from an under-represented group. 

What is the future of the trades in Canada?

The future is bright; there are a lot of promising things happening. We’ve been around long enough to see the positive impact of our work, as we now have former apprentices posting on our site as employers. We want people to treat the trades with the same level of respect as other post-secondary programs. We need skilled trades to make the world work. 

Whether you’re a job seeker seeking employment in the skilled trades or an employer looking to grow your business, register with ApprenticeSearch.com today. 

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